Five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president Muthuvel Karunanidhi, one of the most influential politicians in the state’s history, has died at the age of 94.
Fondly called Kalaignar, Karunanidhi was suffering from urinary tract infection for over a week. He had been hospitalised since 27 July.
The former chief minister, one of the pillars of the Dravidian movement, was recovering from a long illness when he contracted the infection and developed fever. He was admitted to Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital after his blood pressure dropped sharply.
A press release from the hospital announced his death.
Earlier in the evening, the hospital said that the clinical condition of Karunanidhi had declined significantly “over the last few hours” and his vital organis were deteriorating despite maximum medical support. “He is extremely critical and unstable,” the release said.
On Monday (6 August) evening, the hospital said that the former chief minister’s health condition had declined and it had become a challenge to maintain the functioning of his vital organs in view of his age-related ailments. “He is on continuous monitoring and being treated with active medical support. His response to the medical interventions over the next 24 hours will determine the prognosis,” hospital executive director Aravindan Selvaraj said.
Thousands of DMK cadre and Karunanidhi’s supporters had gathered outside the hospital since 27 July, praying and wishing for Kalaignar’s recovery.
Karunanidhi served as Tamil Nadu chief minister five times between 1969 and 2011. He had been leading the DMK since the demise of its founder, C N Annadurai, in 1969. Karunanidhi’s foray into Tamil Nadu politics began with his participation in the Kallakudi agitation in 1953. In 1957, he was elected to the Madras state legislative assembly for the first time from Kulithalai constituency in Tiruchirapalli district. In 1961, he became the DMK treasurer and was given the post of deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly the following year. Known as 'Kalaignar' (artist) by his supporters, he had also worked as a playwright and screenwriter in many Tamil movies, especially featuring then stars M G Ramachandran and ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan.
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