Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister R Doraikkannu, who had tested positive for coronavirus, died last night at a private hospital in Chennai. He was 72.
The minister had tested positive on October 13 for the highly infectious disease, which has affected over 81 lakh people in the country and more than 7.2 lakh people in Tamil Nadu. He was a three-time MLA from Papanasam in Thanjavur district.
The 72-year-old AIADMK leader breathed his last late last night, Kauvery Hospital Executive Director Dr Aravdindan Selvaraj said in a medical bulletin. "With deep grief, we announce the sad demise of Honourable Minister for Agriculture R Doraikkannu," on Saturday at 11.15 pm, he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the grieving family during this difficult period," the statement added.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who had also tested positive for coronavirus in August, paid tributes to the minister. R Doraikkannu "was known for his simplicity, humbleness, straightforwardness, governance skills and commitment towards the welfare of farming community. He handled Ministry of Agriculture with full dedication and engraved his strong mark. His untimely demise is an irreparable loss to the people of Tamil Nadu and particularly to the AIADMK party," the Governor was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Last evening, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had visited him in the hospital.
His CT scan had showed 90 per cent lung involvement vis-a-vis the infection and he was put on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and ventilator.
Several top politicians have contracted the virus since India reported its first case on January 31.
In August, former president Pranab Mukherjee died, weeks after testing positive. Junior Railways Minister Suresh Angadi, Covid positive, had died in September. Vinod Kumar Singh, a Bihar minister, died at a hospital in Delhi in October.
(With inputs from PTI)