Puneeth Rajkumar's Funeral Moved To Sunday, Many Fans Yet To Pay Respect

Puneeth Rajkumar Final Rites: Puneeth Rajkumar's death was received with shock across the country, with Prime Minister Modi leading actors, sportspersons and political leaders united in their sorrow

Puneeth Rajkumar, 46, died yesterday after a heart attack

Bengaluru:

Actor Puneeth Rajkumar's funeral has been postponed to tomorrow, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said. 

He said the cremation - scheduled for this evening - had been postponed because of the delayed arrival of the actor's daughter (Druthi, who is flying in from New York) and to give more time for fans unable to pay their final respects.

"(Mr Rajkumar's) daughter has taken the flight to Bengaluru (her flight from the US landed in Delhi this afternoon)... There is a huge gathering of public (looking) to pay their last respects... and many wanted to get a last glimpse. After 6 pm cremation in that small place, in the dark, will be challenging. After discussing with the family we have decided to postpone the funeral to tomorrow. The time will be decided late tonight," Mr Bommai said around 2.30 pm.

"So fans (can come) for public viewing till tomorrow morning. Fans do not need to panic... they can peacefully come to pay their last respects to 'Appu' (as Mr Rajkumar was fondly called)," he said.

Earlier this morning the Chief Minister and Governor Thawarchand Gehlot paid their final tributes.

Mr Rajkumar is to be cremated with state honours. His body is currently lying in state at Bengaluru's Kanteerava Stadium.

The police on Saturday had made arrangements at the stadium in anticipation of a traffic jam with tens of thousands of fans still making their way to pay their final respects, with parking available at the St Joseph's ground on Vittal Mallya Road and the YMCA ground on Nrupatunga Road.

Iconic actor Puneeth Rajkumar died yesterday at the age of 46 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Mr Rajkumar had been admitted to the city's Vikram Hospital at 11.30 am after complaining of chest pain; this was as the actor, a known fitness enthusiast, was at his personal gym in his home.

Visuals from yesterday evening underline the level of respect and adulation he commanded; a clip showed a sea of fans, shoulder-to-shoulder and wall-to-wall, waiting to get a glimpse of his body.

"On the basis of decision taken by Puneeth Rajkumar's family, the next stage of security arrangements will be made. The family will take a call on when the final rites will be performed. Probably, the last rites will be done today," Bengaluru top cop Kamal Pant told news agency ANI.

Mr Rajkumar's death was received with shock across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading a long list of actors, sportspersons and political leaders united in their sorrow.

The Prime Minister lamented a "cruel twist of fate" that had robbed India of a "prolific and talented actor". "This was no age to go. The coming generations will remember him fondly for his works and wonderful personality. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," PM Modi tweeted.

Chief Minister Bommai said he had been left "deeply shocked" and said the loss of the state's favourite actor 'Appu', as Mr Rajkumar was fondly called, had caused enormous loss "and I pray God will have mercy on his soul and give his fans the power to endure this pain."

Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah said Mr Rajkumar had won the hearts of all Kannadigas through his acting skills, and that it was a great loss for Karnataka.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also tweeted to express his sorrow.

Mr Rajkumar's death also led to tributes from the world of cricket, with Bengaluru-born India cricketers Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad among those tweeting.

From cinema, legendary star Amitabh Bachchan was among those who tweeted; Mr Bachchan said: " A day of remorse and prayer ... two close to the family passed away today ... it is too dark."

Late last night it emerged that Mr Rajkumar had arranged for his eyes to be donated.

With input from ANI

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