Puneeth Rajkumar, 46, one of the marquee names of the Kannada film industry and the youngest of the five children of matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest on Friday morning.

Puneeth complained of chest pain after a workout session at the home gym on Friday morning. An ECG at his family doctor’s clinic indicated a cardiac arrest and he was immediately rushed to Vikram Hospital, but it was too late, sources said.

ans queue up to pay their last respects to Puneeth Rajkumar at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. 

Ranganath Nayak, cardiologist at Vikram Hospitals, said at the time of arrival to the emergency, the patient was unresponsive. “Immediate advanced cardiac life support measures were initiated at the hospital for resuscitation. However, the patient continued to be unresponsive… The panel of medical experts extended all efforts to save him. He was declared dead at 2.30 p.m.,” he said.

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As a child artist

Puneeth made his debut on screen with his father when he was just six months old and he went on to win a national award as a child artist. He took a break only to re-emerge as a lead actor in 2002 and went on to star in 29 films as a lead actor, delivering some of the biggest hits in recent years.

He is survived by his wife Ashwini Revanth and daughters Drithi and Vanditha. His brother Raghavendra Rajkumar, appealing for calm among his fans, said the family was yet to come to terms with the loss. Family members, members of the film industry, and scores of fans were inconsolable at the sudden demise of the actor. “He was at the party celebrating my birthday on Thursday night, singing and dancing merrily and to realise he is gone today is unbelievable,” said music composer Guru Kiran.

Last rites

The mortal remains of the actor have been kept at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru where fans and well-wishers can pay their respects all day on Saturday. There was a huge crowd of his supporters at the venue even late in the evening on Friday. His last rites will be conducted with state honours at Dr. Rajkumar Punyabhoomi in Kanteerava Studio, next to his father and mother, on Sunday, the Government announced. Puneeth Rajkumar’s daughter is abroad and is expected to reach the city only by Saturday night, so the last rites will be held on Sunday, according to sources.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai appealed for calm and peace through the two days. “We need to send him off with love and respect. I request everyone to pay their respects in peace,” he said.

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