Nawang Gombu, the first man to scale Mt. Everest twice, died at his home in Darjeeling early on Sunday after a brief illness. He was 79.
Awarded the Padma Bhusan in 1966, the Padma Shree in 1964, the Arjuna Award the following year and the Tenzing Norgay Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, Nawang Gombu had also received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.
Following in the footsteps of his uncle Tenzing Norgay, he was first an altitude porter before becoming a climbing member in many subsequent expeditions, according to his family.
Nawang Gombu was also a member of the team which saw Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953, making him the youngest climbing Sherpa, at the age of 16.
After a gap of 10 years, he climbed Mt. Everest with the American mountaineer Jim Whittaker in 1963, and then again two years later with Captain A.S. Cheema.
The other mountains that Nawang Gombu climbed include Sakang Peak, Saser Kangri, Nanda Devi, Cho Oyu, Koktgang and Ratong.
Not only did he climb these mountains, he played a great role in teaching mountaineering to many and in the setting up of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, his brother-in-law Dorjee Lhatoo said.
The funeral will be held in Darjeeling on Thursday, his family said.