Chennai: Veteran comedian and actor Vivekh died aged 59 after a massive cardiac arrest, regional media reports said on Saturday.
He was taken to a private hospital in Chennai on Friday. The actor reportedly fainted after expressing discomfort and his family rushed him to the SIMS Hospital at Vadapalani while he was in an unconscious state. He later underwent an emergency coronary angiogram followed by angioplasty.
The actor's condition was reported to be critical and he was on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Vivekh had made headlines on Thursday for his efforts to remove the fear of the COVID vaccine among the public. Instead of opting for a private hospital, he had chosen to get vaccinated from a government hospital to spread awareness.
Actor, singer, comedian, activist
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the late actor on social media, posting: "The untimely demise of noted actor Vivek has left many saddened. His comic timing and intelligent dialogues entertained people. Both in his films and his life, his concern for the environment and society shone through. Condolences to his family, friends and admirers. Om Shanti."
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan also mourned his loss, tweeting: "Huge admirer of his work and sheer genius. We’ve lost a legend today. My condolences to Vivek sir’s family, friends and fans. #RIPVivekSir."
Actor Prakash Raj also mourned the loss of his friend. "Ahhh.. #vivek ...gone too soon dear friend ..thank you for planting thoughts n trees ...thank you for entertaining and empowering us with your wit and humour..will miss you...RIP."
Filmmaker Mohan Raja, who had worked with Vivekh in the past, also expressed his grief. "#Vivek Sir Shocking n still unable to believe that this legend is no more. Memories of Working with him in Mkumaran will always be treasured. Deep condolences to the family."
Actress Simran tweeted: "Deeply saddened to hear the demise of #Vivek you will always remain in our hearts. My condolences to Vivek Ji's family."
Vivekh's rise to fame and most familiar roles have been as the lead star's funny best friend. Legendary filmmaker K Balachander had launched Vivekh in the late 1980s. He later went on to become one of the most sought-after comedy actors of Tamil cinema and still retains his stronghold in the industry.
An environmentalist, in order to laud the green movement, Vivekh started a movement to plant a billion trees across Tamil Nadu, he was advised to do so from the former late president APJ Abdul Kalam.
Vivekh, whose name was Vivekanandan, was awarded the Padma Shri award, India's fourth-highest civilian award, in 2009 for his contribution to the arts. Apart from being an actor and a comedian, Vivekh was also an activist and a playback singer. He was widely regarded for his performances in movies like 'Perazhagan', 'Run', 'Perazhagan', among several others.
Vivekh is survived by his wife and two daughters.