World

Indian nun Sister Nirmala, who took over Mother Theresa's mission in India, dies at 81

  • People pay tribute as the body of Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa, as the head of Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by the later is kept at the St.John’s Church in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The 81 years old nun died in Kolkata early Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)

    People pay tribute as the body of Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa, as the head of Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by the later is kept at the St.John’s Church in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The 81 years old nun died in Kolkata early Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nuns pray as they surround the body of Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa, as the head of Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by the later in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The 81 years old nun died in Kolkata early Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)

    Nuns pray as they surround the body of Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa, as the head of Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by the later in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The 81 years old nun died in Kolkata early Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nuns pray as they surround the body of Sister Nirmala Joshi, who succeeded Mother Theresa as the head of the Missionaries of Charity, in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The 81-year-old nun, whose health had been declining in recent days, died early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

    Nuns pray as they surround the body of Sister Nirmala Joshi, who succeeded Mother Theresa as the head of the Missionaries of Charity, in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The 81-year-old nun, whose health had been declining in recent days, died early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)  (The Associated Press)

The Indian nun who replaced Mother Theresa as head of the Missionaries of Charity has died. She was 81.

The charity said Sister Nirmala Joshi's health had been declining in recent days, but did not give any more details about the cause of her death early Tuesday.

She was selected to lead the charity six months before the death of its founder, Mother Theresa, in 1997. She carried out the role until stepping down in 2009.

Indian politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi praised her work for the poor in the eastern city of Kolkata, where the charity is based.

West Bengal's highest elected official, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said in a Twitter message that "Kolkata and the world will miss her."