KUALA LUMPUR : Former President of the United Sabah People's Party (PBRS), Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, was reported to have passed away today at the age of 80.

It is learnt that he died at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in the capital around 7:30 p.m. earlier this evening.

The cause of death of Kurup, who was also the founder of PBRS, has yet to be determined.

The passing of the veteran politician was confirmed by the PBRS Information Chief, Datuk Fredie Sua, to Astro AWANI, tonight.

In January last year, Kurup announced his retirement from politics and resigned as President of the party with immediate effect.

Kurup began his involvement in politics in 1985 by joining the United Sabah Party (PBS).

He also served as the Sook State Assemblyman under the PBS ticket from 1985-1999 and 2004, as well as the Member of Parliament for Pensiangan in 2003.

The late Kurup is survived by his wife, Puan Sri Melinda Mak Soak Fong, and six children.

Among the significant positions he held at the state level included Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, Minister of Resource Development and Entrepreneurs, Minister of Resource Development and Information Technology Progress, and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, he was appointed as a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department from 2013 to 2018.