Congress MP from Kanyakumari H Vasanthakumar, who had been fighting the coronavirus infection, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Friday. The 70-year-old leader, the working president of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, was also a renowned businessman and was the founder of famous retail chain Vasanth & Co.
Vasanthakumar is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter.
Apollo Hospitals in a statement said the MP was treated in a critical care unit for severe Covid pneumonia. "Despite all active medical measures, his condition deteriorated gradually due to COVID complications and he passed away today," the hospital said.
Expressing grief, the Congress in a tweet said: "We are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of H Vasanthakumar. A staunch Congressman, true leader of the people and beloved MP. He will be sorely missed by all members of the Congress party and his followers."
We are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Shri H. Vasanthakumar. A staunch Congressman, true leader of the people & beloved MP. He will be sorely missed by all members of the Congress party & his followers. Our prayers are with his family in this time of grief. pic.twitter.com/BU49MrbNXg— Congress (@INCIndia) August 28, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his condolences, tweeting: "His strides in business and social service efforts were noteworthy. During my interactions with him, I always saw his passion towards Tamil Nadu’s progress."
Saddened by the demise of Lok Sabha MP Shri H. Vasanthakumar Ji. His strides in business and social service efforts were noteworthy. During my interactions with him, I always saw his passion towards Tamil Nadu’s progress. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/SmuAK8ufAx— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 28, 2020
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a tweet, "The stalwart Congress leader served the people of Tamil Nadu throughout his life. His passing away is a personal loss to me as well as to the Congress."
Vasanthakumar had been admitted to hospital on August 10 after he tested positive for coronavirus. He remained on life support and ECMO support for the last week as his condition was critical. His health worsened since Friday afternoon.
The two-time MLA was first elected in the 2006 state assembly polls and then again in the 2016 elections. He also contested the Lok Sabha polls last year and defeated sitting BJP MP Radhakrishnan.
Expressing grief, Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami said, "Vasanthakumar, who started his career as a salesman, came up in life through his hard work. He did excellent service for the educational and economic growth of the poor and earned the love of people in his public life."
In his condolence message, Rahul Gandhi said, "The news of Kanyakumari MP H Vasanthakumar's untimely demise due to Covid-19 has come as a shock. His commitment to the Congress ideology of serving the people will remain in our hearts forever. Heartfelt condolences to his friends and family members."
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Alagiri said a pillar of the state unit has fallen. As a mark of respect, hen announced a week-long mourning and said party flags will fly at half mast and all party events are being cancelled.
(With inputs from PTI)