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B.K.S. Iyengar, the Indian yoga guru who helped popularize yoga in the United States, died Wednesday morning at the age of 95 in a hospital in Pune, India.

A family friend, Dr. Satish Desai, told The New York Times Iyengar had been admitted for kidney failure, while the Times of India reported Iyengar had been experiencing breathlessness.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on Twitter:

Iyengar was instrumental in spreading the practice of yoga beyond India's borders, establishing institutes dedicated to yoga on six continents, and promoting the lifestyle of doing long asanas, or postures.

He began teaching yoga in the 1930s after suffering a series of childhood illnesses including tuberculosis, typhoid, and malaria, while living with his poor family in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, which was then mired in a global influenza outbreak. 

His disciples included prominent figures like violinist Yehudi Menuhin, actress Ali MacGraw, and Indian independence fighter Jayaprakash Narayan. Iyengar also penned books on yoga, including Light on Yoga, which has been translated into 18 languages. In 2004, TIME magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.

"Iyengar means yoga," he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2002. "Yoga means Iyengar. They are synonymous terms."

His official website now reflects his death, along with a quote:


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