NEW DELHI — Muthuvel Karunanidhi died today in Chennai at 6:10 pm aged 94. Fondly called 'Kalaignar' — meaning 'artiste' — by his followers, Karunanidhi never lost an election and was voted to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu five times. His death was announced from his official Twitter handle today a little before 7 pm.
Karunanidhi had been struggling with age-related illnesses for a while now and his followers had camped outside the hospital praying for his recovery. Touted as the last mass leader that Tamil Nadu had, following Jayalalithaa's death, Karunanidhi's passing saw an outpouring of tributes on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first to condole his death. He posted a series of tweets calling Karunanidhi "a deep-rooted mass leader, prolific thinker, accomplished writer and a stalwart whose life was devoted to the welfare of the poor and the marginalised". He reposted all this tweets in Tamil as well.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi called him a 'colossus' in Tamil Nadu's political horizon.
Calling Karunanidhi a 'father figure' TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her condolence to his family.
The official Twitter handle of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan underlined the fact that Karunanidhi was not just a political behemoth, he was an artiste and cultural stalwart. The Twitter handle said, "Kalaignar was one of the greats of Indian politics, but his contributions were not limited to politics. He was a man of letters who enriched the Tamil language with poems, novels, screenplays and plays. CM opined that the legacy of the great leader will live on."
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami posted his statement on Twitter calling Karunanidhi's death saddening and applauding his contribution to the arts in Tamil Nadu.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu said Karunanidhi's death was a huge loss for not just Tamil Nadu but the whole of India. Reminding his followers about Karunanidhi's fight for the poor and marginalised, Naidu marvelled at the late DMK chief's 75-year-long political career.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: