Condoling the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he was a pillar of the organisation who lived and breathed Congress and stood with the party through its most difficult times. Patel, who served as the Congresss backroom strategist for years, passed away at a Gurugram hospital in the early hours of Wednesday. He was suffering from complications related to COVID-19. It is a sad day. Shri Ahmed Patel was a pillar of the Congress party. He lived and breathed Congress and stood with the party through its most difficult times. He was a tremendous asset, Gandhi said in a tweet. We will miss him. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz (Patels son and daughter) and the family, he said. In his condolence message to Patels son Faisal, Gandhi said the Congress has lost a leader who had dedicated his life to the party. Ahmed ji epitomized courage and loyalty in public life. He stood by the Congress party through its most difficult times. I will miss his wisdom, his intellect and his unwavering commitment to the Congress party, he said. He will continue to guide us and inspire every Congress worker to carry forward our mission, the former Congress chief said. Patel was an eight-time parliamentarian – five times in the Rajya Sabha, three times in the Lok Sabha. His last Rajya Sabha election was contested keenly. He was currently the Congress treasurer, a post that he occupied thrice.