More than 60 people across Andhra Pradesh have died of shock or committed suicide after the death of their chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, prompting his MP son Y.S. Jagannathan Reddy to appeal to his late father's admirers to be patient and brave.
"I appeal to all of you to be patient and be brave in this hour of tragedy. He (YSR) wanted to see a smile on the faces of all and if you resort to such things (suicide) this will hurt him," said Jaganmohan, trying to hard to control his tears.
"I request you not to commit suicide," said Jaganmohan, who was elected to Lok Sabha from Kadapa in recent elections and is being seen by many as the next chief minister.
The appeal before the camera was telecast on all Telugu television channels.
Telugu television channels estimated that 67 people died of shock on hearing the news of their leader's death in a horrific air crash Thursday or committed suicide, unable to bear the loss. Most of those who died of shock were watching news of YSR's death on television.
This is the first time in the state's history that such a large number of people have died over the death of any political leader.
YSR, as the late leader was popularly known, has surpassed in death the popularity of actor and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder N.T. Rama Rao who died in 1996.
A large number of those who died of shock included young supporters of YSR and the beneficiaries of the various welfare schemes launched by him in the last five years. They suffered a cardiac arrest following the news of the chief minister's death in the helicopter crash.
The deaths were reported from 19 out of 23 districts in the state. In the coastal district of West Godavari, six people died of shock and four committed suicide.
"YSR dedicated his life to people, I am dedicating my life to him," a youth wrote in his suicide note before consuming pesticide.
A physically handicapped couple, who were getting monthly pension under a welfare scheme, attempted suicide by jumping into the Godavari river but were saved by fishermen.
In Hyderabad, 42-year-old Yadgiri died of shock while watching news of YSR's death on television. M. Srinivas, 30, suffered cardiac arrest.
The charred bodies of YSR and four others were found Friday morning in Nallamala forest in Kurnool district, almost 24 hours after their helicopter went missing.