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.
Press release from Kauvery Hospital - Admin pic.twitter.com/o52AioshPR— KalaignarKarunanidhi (@kalaignar89) August 7, 2018
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.
Kalaignar Karunanidhi stood for regional aspirations as well as national progress. He was steadfastly committed to the welfare of Tamils and ensured that Tamil Nadu's voice was effectively heard. pic.twitter.com/l7ypa1HJNC— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2018
I have had the opportunity of interacting with Karunanidhi Ji on several occasions. His understanding of policy and emphasis on social welfare stood out. Firmly committed to democratic ideals, his strong opposition to the Emergency will always be remembered. pic.twitter.com/cbMiMPRy7l— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2018
My thoughts are with the family and the countless supporters of Karunanidhi Ji in this hour of grief. India and particularly Tamil Nadu will miss him immensely. May his soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/7ZZQi9VEkm— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi called him a 'colossus' in Tamil Nadu's political horizon.
Loved by the Tamilian people, Kalaignar strode the stage of Tamil politics, like a colossus, for over 6 decades. In his passing, India has lost a great son. My condolences to his family as also to the millions of Indians who grieve for their beloved leader tonight.#Karunanidhi— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 7, 2018
Calling Karunanidhi a 'father figure' TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her condolence to his family.
Today India lost one of its greatest sons. And Tamil Nadu lost its father figure. Farewell @Kalaignar89. My deepest condolences to the people of Tamil Nadu, @arivalayam, @mkstalin, @KanimozhiDMK and family. India mourns your loss— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 7, 2018
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.
மாண்புமிகு தமிழ்நாடு முதலமைச்சர் திரு.எடப்பாடி கே.பழனிசாமி அவர்களின் இரங்கல் செய்தி - 7.8.2018 pic.twitter.com/NXEV9jZxUZ— Edappadi K Palaniswami (@CMOTamilNadu) August 7, 2018
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:
Feel v sad to hear about the demise of this great leader. May his soul rest in peace. Its a great loss to the nation. https://t.co/fymujgcmMI— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 7, 2018