Tamil Nadu MLA J Anbazhagan, who had tested positive for coronavirus, died in a hospital in Chennai on Wednesday. He would have turned 62 today.
Anbazhagan, a DMK MLA, was admitted to hospital on June 2 over “severe acute respiratory distress” and had tested positive for COVID-19 at the time.
He was put on ventilator support on June 3 when his breathing trouble worsened.
He was fighting acute pneumonia and his condition deteriorated on Monday evening, according to Dr Rela Institute and Medical Centre, where he was being treated.
His cardiac function dropped and a chronic kidney disease also contributed to his critical condition.
In a statement, the private hospital said: “The COVID 19 pneumonia rapidly deteriorated early this morning. In spite of full medical support including mechanical ventilation at our COVID facility he succumbed to his illness.”
Anbazhagan is the first big political leader to die of coronavirus in Tamil Nadu.
Chief Minister E Palanisamy and DMK chief M K Stalin have condoled the politician’s death. Stalin has announced three-day mourning with the DMK flag at half-mast. All party events have also been called off.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also tweeted his condolences. “DMK MLA #JAnbazhagan is no more. He succumbs to #COVID19. He is the first legislator to die in India of the infection. It was his 62nd birthday today. Om Shanti,” said Tharoor.
A staunch DMK loyalist and a good organiser, Anbazhagan was active in the party’s community outreach amid the lockdown. Stalin said: “How will I forget Anbazhagan, who died contracting the virus, dedicating himself for public life. My dear brother Anbazhagan…when will I see you again”.
Tamil Nadu is the second worst-hit state in India with over 34,000 COVID-19 cases and 307 deaths.