Yogyakarta. The family of Indonesian icon Mbah Maridjan and the Yogyakarta Palace have confirmed that the 83-year-old gatekeeper of Yogyakarta’s Gunung Merapi was killed when the volcano erupted on Tuesday.
“Bapak [Mbah Maridjan] has gone,” his son-in-law Radjiman told the Jakarta Globe. “The funeral plan is not yet fixed because we are still waiting for several family members to arrive in Yogyakarta.”
Gusti Prabukusumo, the brother of Yogyakarta king Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, contacted Sardjito Hospital on Wednesday morning to inform them about Maridjan’s distinguishing physical features.
“Gusti Prabukusumo said that Mbah Maridjan had bent thumbs,” Trisno said.
The gatekeeper was found dead in his house at Kinahrejo village. He was in a praying position.
The family have confirmed the body as belonging to Maridjan.
“But we also need valid medical data and will run a DNA test,” Trisno said.
Speaking on behalf of the Yogyakarta Palace, Gusti Prabukusumo said they had a premonition about Mbah Maridjan’s fate.
“We had known long before it happened that Mbah Maridjan would be taken by Merapi. Now that he’s gone, we have to choose a new gatekeeper soon,” Prabukusumo said.
Born in 1927, Mbah Maridjan was the son of previous Merapi gatekeeper.
In 1970, he was chosen as one of Yogyakarta Palace’s staff and was given a royal title of Mas Penewu Suroksohargo. In 1982, he replaced his father as the new gatekeeper. He was known for his dedication and loyalty to the king.
In 2006, he refused to leave his village even though Merapi already spewed lava and ash cloud out of confidence that the volcano would not erupt.
Mbah Maridjan was survived by his wife, Ponirah, 73, and five children.