04/04/2015 11:24 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Malli Mastan Babu, India's Ace Mountaineer, Found Dead

SAM PANTHAKY via Getty Images
Indian mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu (C) poses with children in Ahmedabad on November 29, 2009, following a morale run with some 125 underpriviledged children and women. The 34-year old is the only South Asian to have scaled the seven highest mountain peaks in a record 172 days in 2006. AFP PHOTO/ Sam PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — 'Mountains retained its favourite child'.... was the poignant and incredibly sad message late on Friday on the Facebook page the well-wishers of ace Indian mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu had recently set up. The message along with TV reports confirmed that Babu, who went missing in the Andes on March 24, has been found dead.

However, Babu’s brother Prakash in Hyderabad told the Deccan Chronicle that the family had no official confirmation of his death.

Mountains retained its favourite child.. R.I.P Malli Mastan Babu.

Posted by Rescue Malli Mastan Babu on Friday, April 3, 2015

An announcement on Facebook page 'Rescue Malli Mastan Babu' created by his friends and well wishers read "Mountains retained its favourite child.. R.I.P Malli Mastan Babu."

Helicopter teams from Argentina and Chile were searching the Andes mountains for Babu. External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Babu went missing on March 24 while climbing the mountain between Chile and Argentina.

Also Read: MEA Deploys Helicopter Teams To Search For Ace Indian Mountaineer

Babu is a top Indian mountaineer, having achieved the feat of becoming the "fastest seven summiteer" in the world (172 days in 2006, during which he climbed seven summits on seven days of the week in each calendar month). He is also the first Indian to summit Mt Vinson Massif, the tallest peak in Antarctica and the first person from Andhra Pradesh to scale the Everest.

He is an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur and IIM-Kolkata. His sister Dorasanamma is in Argentina to monitor the search operations.

Babu left home in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh for the trip on December 16. The weather turned bad just after Babu set out on his trek up the Andes mountains. (With inputs from agencies)