Chennai: DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi — five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who dominated the state’s politics for six decades along with arch-rivals MG Ramachandran and later, J Jayalalithaa — died at a hospital in Chennai on Tuesday evening.
The Kauvery Hospital said Karunanidhi died at 6.10pm. “Despite the best possible efforts by our team of doctors and nurses to resuscitate him, he failed to respond,” said the hospital in a statement, expressing “deep anguish”.
The 94-year-old leader was admitted to the hospital on July 28 after he contracted urinary tract infection and developed a high fever. MK Stalin, Karunanidhi’s political heir and DMK working president, appealed to party workers to maintain peace as he and his siblings visited the hospital every day.
On July 29, Mr Karunanidhi’s vital signs had weakened triggering huge concern, but the crisis passed within hours. The hospital later called it a “transient setback” and the doctors advised a longer stay, citing “age related overall decline, altered liver function and haematological parameters”.
On Monday evening, his health took a downturn again. In a bulletin, the hospital said maintaining his vital organ functions remains “a challenge” in view of his age-related ailments and the next 24 hours would be crucial.
Hundreds of policemen guarded the hospital and the road leading to Gopalapuram, sometimes caning crowds or appealing them to disperse. Stalin on August 1 had said 21 DMK workers had died “unable to bear the shock of” Karunanidhi’s illness.
A five-term chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi was a multi-faceted personality — a top politician, a star scriptwriter for Tamil movies, author and an impressive orator.
He is survived by sons Stalin, MK Alagiri, Muthu, Tamilarasu and daughters Kanimozhi and Selvi.