The family of Pakistan's legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi says he has died at a hospital in Karachi.

His son, Faisal Edhi, says the 88-year-old social worker died on Friday after a prolonged illness.

Earlier in the day, the family had had asked to pray for Edhi whose condition deteriorated and who was said to be breathing with the help of a ventilator. Edhi had been undergoing treatment at the hospital for the past several weeks.

Edhi established a welfare foundation almost six decades ago that owns and runs Pakistan's largest ambulance service, as well as nursing homes, orphanages, clinics and women's shelters, along with rehabilitation centers and soup kitchens across the country.