J Anbazhagan, DMK member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly, died in a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday after battling corona for eight days.
A hospital press release said Anbazhagan was admitted in a critical condition on the night of June 2 and was put on a ventilator. His condition worsened on Tuesday night and he died at 8.05 am on Wednesday which happened to be his 62nd birthday .
Anbazhagan was the first high profile victim of corona since it came to India in February.
The body was taken to his home in Chennai to enable family members to pay respects. From there,it was taken to a cremation ground where corporation staff buried him alongside his father Jayaraman, a founding member of the DMK.
In view of restrictions on gatherings in funerals, no DMK leader could attend. Party president MK Stalin and other leaders paid floral tributes to Anbazhagan's portrait at Arivalayam. Stalin announced a three-day mourning.
His illness had shaken leaders cutting across party lines. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami, who deputed Health Minister C Vijayabaskar to the hospital immediately after Anbazhagan fell ill to promise all help, said in a message that he was anguished.
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneeselvam telephoned Stalin to offer his condolences.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit said Anbazhagan's death was an irreplaceable loss. Leaders cutting across party lines paid their tributes.
Anbazhagan is the third MLA of the DMK to die in harness. The party has already lost KKP Swamy and Karupparayan.Anbazhagan was a three-time MLA. He was elected for the first time in 2001 from T. Nagar. He won again in 2011. In 2016, he got elected from Chepauk, a constituency held by party patriarch M Karunanidhi. Anbazhagan was also secretary of the West Chennai DMK.In view of Covid situation, by-elections to fill the vacancies are unlikely to be held in the near future.