Kannada star-turned-politician Ambareesh suffers cardiac arrest, dies at 66 

[dropcap] V[/dropcap]eteran Kannada film star and former Union minister Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath, popularly known by his screen name Ambareesh breathed his last at a private Bengaluru hospital on Saturday night. He died owing to a cardiac arrest at the age of 66.

“Ambareesh died at around 10.15 p.m. after a massive cardiac arrest (heart attack) a couple of hours after he was brought to our hospital in the evening due to breathing (respiratory) problem,” the doctor told IANS from Vikram Hospital in the city centre.

The superstar of the sandalwood industry is survived by his widow and multi-lingual actress Sumalatha and son Abhishek.

Ambareesh had been ailing from diseases for a long time and was, also, reportedly undergoing kidney treatment.

The hospital authorities in a statement said that Ambareesh was found unresponsive at his residence (in the city’s southern suburb) and resuscitation efforts were initiated at his home and continued en-route to the hospital.

“Despite all aggressive resuscitation efforts, Amabreesh could not be revived and is declared deceased at 22.15 on 24.11.2018,” added the statement.

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, cabinet ministers KJ George and DK Shivakumar visited the hospital soon after the news broke out.

“With a heavy heart, visited the hospital and met the grieving family members of my dear friend rebel star #Ambareesh,” tweeted Kumaraswamy.

In consultation with the family, the chief minister has directed the officials concerned to make arrangements for the public and fans to pay their last respects to Ambareesh at Kanteerva Stadium opposite Cubbon Park in the city centre from 8 am onwards.

“Ambareesh was a rebel who was loved by all. He carved a unique place in both politics and films. He leaves back a legacy that will be cherished by his family, friends, fans and followers. May his soul rest in peace and his family get strength to bear this loss,” said the chief minister in another tweet.

Kumaraswamy also assured the fans to arrange special buses from Ambareesh’s home district (Mandya) to allow them travel to Bengaluru for paying homage to him.

“I request Ambareesh fans and people to maintain peace, prevent any untoward incident over his death and pay homage to the departed soul peacefully,” added Kumaraswamy through a tweet.

The chief minister’s office said last rites of Ambareesh body would be performed on Monday near Rajkumar Smaraka at Kanteerava Studio in the city’s northwest suburb with state honours, as decided in consultation with his family members.

Ambareesh was former cabinet minister in the previous Congress government from May 2013 to June 2016 when then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sacked him along with 13 other ministers in a major reshuffle of his ministry.

He was Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting in the first UPA government and a Parliament member from Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, about 100km from here.

Ambaressh was also a member of the state legislature, representing Mandya and Srirangapatna assembly segments as a Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader.

Ambareesh entered filmdom through the role of ‘Jaleel’ in veteran director Puttanna Kanagal’s ‘Naagarahaavu’ in 1972.

He also acted in ‘Shubhamangala’, ‘Antha’, ‘Chakravyuha’, ‘Masanada Hoovu’, ‘Olavina Udugere’, ‘Hrudaya Haadithu’, ‘Odahuttidavaru’, ‘Diggajaru’ and ‘Elu Suttina Kote’, where he played a critically acclaimed role.