Kauvery Hospital said Karunanidhi died Tuesday after suffering multiple organ failure. Hundreds of supporters carrying his photograph had kept vigil at the hospital praying for his recovery. Many wept when they learned of his death.
Karunanidhi dominated the Tamil-language movie industry as a screenwriter beginning in the 1950s, and later the political scene for nearly five decades. He became the state’s chief minister, the top elected official, in 1969 and held that position five times for a total of 19 years. He led the DravidaMunnetraKazhagam political party.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that India and particularly Tamil Nadu would miss Karunanidhi immensely.
“We carry out aimless a deep-rooted gathering leader, profuse thinker, accomplished writer and a brave whose go was ardent to the welfare of the meagre and the marginalized,” Modi alleged in a concerned message.
Karunanidhi stopped making a public appearance two years ago as his health deteriorated.
He is the second key political figure to die in Tamil Nadu state in the past two years after Jayaram Jayalalithaa of the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, creating a huge political vacuum.
Cinema has every time influenced Tamil politics by spinning actors into common politicians. C.N. Annadurai and Karunanidhi were mutually scriptwriters who went on to befit chief ministers. M.G. Ramachandran, a top actor-turned-politician, also had a strong screen presence and following and ruled the state for nearly 10 years as its top elected official.
From his school days, Karunanidhi showed interest in drama, poetry and literature. He began his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry at the age of 20. His first film, Rajakumaari, gained him recognition and popularity.
Karunanidhi penned screenplays and dialogues for more than 50 movies. He moreover wrote the stories for a quantity of them, such as MarudanattuIlavarasi (1950), MandiriKumari (1950), Tirumbipar (1953) and Arasilangkumari (1961).
He became a powerful political figure using his wit and oratorical skills after joining politics at age 33 and winning a state legislature seat in 1957. He won 13 state elections as a lawmaker.
He had three wives, one of whom has died. He is also survived by four sons and two daughters, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
Karunanidhi’s second son, M.K. Stalin, is his chosen political heir. A daughter, Kanimozhi, is a lawmaker in the Indian Parliament.