In a nationally-televised address, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the president, called on Indonesians to pay Wahid their "highest respects".

'Enormous service'

Wahid was Indonesia's fourth president [AFP] 
"I say this with prayers and hope that he is accepted at the side of God for his enormous service to the public, the nation and our beloved state," he said.

Wahid rose to political prominence through his role as a leader of one of the country's biggest mass Islamic movements, the moderate Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), having been a critic of Suharto during the general's three-decade rule.

A moderate religious scholar, Abdurrahman was criticised in office for his erratic leadership style and was sacked by the national assembly in 2001 amid unproven allegations of corruption and incompetence.

Abdurrahman defeated Megawati Sukarnoputri to win the presidency in a parliamentary vote, even though her Democratic Party of Struggle put in the strongest showing in a general election earlier in 1999.

She replaced him after his tumultuous dismissal by legislators.

Indonesia held its first direct presidential election in 2004, which was won by Yudhoyono.