Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described DMK president M Karunanidhi as a deep-rooted mass leader who stood for regional aspiration and national progress and will travel to Chennai tomorrow morning to pay his last respect.
His death comes less than two years after that of his bitter rival, actress-turned politician J Jayalalithaa, leaving a political void in the state. Of the 15 elections held in Tamil Nadu since Independence, the DMK veteran faced 13 and lost none.
"With deep anguish, we announce the demise of our beloved Kalaignar".
A statement released by the hospital said that "despite the best possible efforts of our team of doctors and nurses to resuscitate him, he failed to respond". Lot of supporters were seen in tears as they expressed their pain on the deteriorating health of their leader.
He founded the first student wing of the Dravidan Movement- Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram and also started a newspaper- Murasoli on Aug 10, 1942.
Tributes have poured in from around India, a clear indication of the stature of the Tamil leader on the federal scene.
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That art and politics blended seamlessly in Karunanidhi was manifest from the sobriquets of "Thalaivar" (The Leader) and "Kalaignar" (The Artist) he earned from ardent followers.
The Press Trust of India news agency said a security alert had been sounded across the state, bearing in mind the outbreaks of violence in the past over the deaths of popular figures.
Mr Karunanidhi was born in 1924. Later, he founded Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram. "If MGR was the welfare agenda man, bordering on populism, much of Karunanidhi's politics focused on creating infrastructure", said political analyst TS Sudhir.
By his 20s, he was making his way into politics, growing close to C.N. Annadurai, the founder of the DMK.
An atheist and self-declared rationalist, Mr Karunanidhi rose to political prominence in the 1940s as part of the Dravidian movement - which challenged the supremacy of upper caste Brahmins - and through his participation in anti-Hindi language agitations.
In recent times, Karunanidhi and DMK achieved infamy for their alleged role in the 2G scam.