Actor and DMDK founder ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth passes away in Chennai | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Actor and DMDK founder ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth passes away in Chennai

Dec 28, 2023 09:09 AM IST

Actor-politician and DMDK founder Vijayakanth passes away in Chennai: Report

DMDK founder-leader Vijayakanth passed away in Chennai on Thursday. He was 71.

Actor-turned-politician and DMDK founder Vijayakanth. (HT Archives)
Actor-turned-politician and DMDK founder Vijayakanth. (HT Archives)

Vijayakanth’s death was confirmed by officials of Miot Hospital, where he was admitted for pneumonia and was treated with ventilator support.

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"Captain Vijaykanth was on ventilatory support following his admission for pneumonia. Despite the best efforts of medical staff he passed away in the morning on 28th December 2023," the hospital said in a release.

His party earlier said in a statement that Vijayakanth had tested positive for coronavirus. Hospital sources said the party issued that statement even before the results for the second round of samples were available, reported PTI.

Vijayakanth has been ill and kept a low profile for the past 4-5 years and his wife Premalatha formally took over the reins of the DMDK on December 14 as she was declared the general secretary at a party meet in Chennai.

Visuals from outside the hospital showed DMDK supporters and fans mourning the death of the popular actor-leader.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mourned the death of Vijayakanth and extended condolences to his family, fans and followers.

“Extremely saddened by the passing away of Thiru Vijayakanth Ji,” the prime minister said in a social media post.

“A legend of the Tamil film world, his charismatic performances captured the hearts of millions. As a political leader, he was deeply committed to public service, leaving a lasting impact on Tamil Nadu’s political landscape,” he added.

“His passing leaves a void that will be hard to fill. He was a close friend and I fondly recall my interactions with him over the years. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his family, fans and numerous followers. Om Shanti.”

Fondly referred to as "Captain" owing to his on-screen portrayal of military characters, he established himself as a versatile actor with a successful career in cinema. He featured in 154 movies before venturing into politics.

Vijayakanth founded the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) in 2005 with the aim of providing an alternative political platform in Tamil Nadu, challenging the established Dravidian parties like the DMK and AIADMK.

The DMDK made its electoral debut in the 2006 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections. The party contested independently and managed to win a significant number of seats, establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the state's political landscape.

In the 2011 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections, the Captain's party scripted history, winning more seats than the DMK in 2011 and emerged as the principal Opposition Party that year.

Vijayakanth served as the leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly from 2011-2016.

The DMDK fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls under the umbrella of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but did not achieve significant success.

The DMDK faced internal challenges, including defections of key leaders, which impacted its electoral performance in subsequent elections.

(With inputs from agencies)

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