Telangana ideologue K Jayashankar passed away on Tuesday in Warangal district, after prolonged illness, his family members said. He was 76.
The former vice chancellor of Kakatiya University and the most respected figure in the movement for a separate state of Telangana breathed his last at his residence in Hanamkonda town.
He was suffering from cancer and was shifted from a hospital in Hyderabad to his home town last week at his request.
A native of Warangal district, Jayashankar did his post-graduation and PhD in economics from Banaras Hindu University and Osmania University in Hyderabad.
He worked as a lecturer and rose to become the vice chancellor of Kakatiya University in Warangal.
With the death of Jayashankar, Telangana plunged into gloom. The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is spearheading the movement for a separate state, called upon people to observe three-day mourning.
Jayashankar, who actively participated in the 1969 movement for a separate state, has been a guiding force for Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao rushed to Hanamkonda from Hyderabad. Breaking down while paying tributes to the departed leader, Rao termed Jayashankar's death as a huge loss to the Telangana movement.
Cutting across party lines, pro-Telangana leaders left for the town to pay their last respects and attend the last rites scheduled to be performed Wednesday.