POLITICS

Indian Political Icon Karunanidhi Dies At 94

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Indian Political Icon Karunanidhi Dies At 94

Muthuvel Karunanidhi, one of India's longest serving politicians, died Tuesday at the age of 94.

Karunanidhi, chief of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party in southern Tamil Nadu state, was admitted into hospital on July 28 after a drop in his blood pressure.

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."

"We have lost a deep-rooted mass leader, prolific thinker, accomplished writer and a stalwart whose life was devoted to the welfare of the poor and the marginalized," tweeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, report CNN and the BBC.

A school dropout, he made his name as a successful scriptwriter in Tamil films.

Karunanidhi served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu five times between 1969 and 2011, and also played a key role in federal politics. He contested – and won – 13 elections in the state.

Police have increased security in Chennai amid fears of unrest among his supporters, who have gathered in the streets in large numbers.

Karunanidhi died at 18:10 local time (12:40 GMT) on Tuesday, the Kauvery Hospital in Chennai said.