Guwahati: Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar passed away on Friday at Vikram hospital in Bengaluru after suffering a heart attack, confirmed Karnataka Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai.
A large number of Puneeth Rajkumar fans have come from various districts of North Karnataka to pay their last respects.
People from far off places such as Bellari, Bagalkot, Yadgiri has come to pay their respects.
People from neighbouring districts of Bengaluru also arrived in hundreds. Many carried portable sound systems and seen playing hit songs of Puneeth Rajkumar films. Some of the fans also seen arriving in a tractor.
Senior producer Rockline Venkatesh appealed to all fans to maintain peace and pay their last respects at Kantheerava Stadium today all day.
“Tomorrow morning we will take the mortal remains to Kantheerava Studio in a procession. Public will not be allowed at the Studio. It is a very small place. Only family members and friends from the film fraternity will be allowed there. We have arranged a few LED screens outside where any members of the public who turn up can watch, but they will not be allowed inside. I appeal to fans not to come to the Studio and provide the family some privacy,” he said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announces that funeral of Puneeth Rajkumar will be on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, multiple ministers had said the last rites will be held Saturday evening itself, after the actor’s daughter studying abroad reaches the city.
However, with thousands of fans still thronging Kantheerava Stadium to pay their last respects, the government has decided to hold the last rites on Sunday.
Announcing the decision chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said the decision has been taken in view of providing opportunity to all his fans to pay their last respects. “I appeal to everyone to maintain calm and peace,” he said. He also said conducting the last rites at Kantheerava Studio after dark was also a challenge.
The chief minister also said Puneeth Rajkumar’s daughter had reached New Delhi and has left for Bengaluru.
Puneeth complained of chest pain on Friday morning and visited his family doctor for an ECG. Following the ECG, he was asked to rush to the hospital. He arrived at Vikram Hospital in a serious condition, a doctor at the hospital said.
He started his career as a child artist with Bettada Hoovu (1985). The actor won a slew of awards as a child actor, including a National Film Award. He starred in the lead role in over 29 Kannada films, including Abhi, Veera Kannadiga, Arasu, Raam, Ajay, Hudugaru and Anjani Putra. He was last seen in Yuvarathnaa, which released early this year.
Besides being an actor, Puneeth was also a singer par excellence. He had revealed that his remuneration from singing goes to charity. In 2012, Puneeth also hosted the first season of Kannadada Kotyadhipati, modelled on the Amitabh Bachchan-hosted show Kaun Banega Crorepati.