Reformist: Girija Prasad Koirala

Nepal's former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who served five terms and led mass protests that ended the king's authoritarian rule in the Himalayan nation, has died aged 86.

Close aide and parliament member Bal Krishna Khad confirmed the death to reporters and thousands of supporters who had gathered outside Koirala's daughter's house in the capital Katmandu.

Koirala had been taken there earlier in the week after several days in hospital.

He had heart problems, hypertension and asthma and had been in hospital several times in the past few months.

Koirala was president of the Nepali Congress Party and led the mass street demonstrations in 2006 that forced then King Gyanendra to give up his authoritarian rule, reinstate parliament and appoint Koirala as caretaker prime minister. Soon after that, the government strip­ped Gyanendra of all his powers and command of the army.

Koirala's fourth term ended in 2001 with his government beset by a Maoist insurgency, a bribery scandal and recriminations over a palace massacre that wiped out much of the royal family.

His government was not implicated in the killings, but the massacre shocked and dismayed Nepal, and blame for security lapses fell on Koirala.