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Ramesh Babu during his time as an actor Image Credit: Twitter.com/SreenuVaitla

Telugu star Mahesh Babu paid tribute to his brother Ramesh Babu, who died Saturday night after a reported prolonged battle with liver-related ailments.

Ramesh, who was Mahesh’s older brother, was an actor-producer himself who succumbed to his death aged 56. The news was confirmed by a statement put out by GMB Entertainment, the production studio owned by the family.

“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved Ghattamaneni Ramesh Babu garu. He will continue to live in our hearts forever,” the statement read, while adding: “In light of the current circumstances, we request all our well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 norms and avoid gathering at the cremation venue.”

Mahesh, who is battling COVID-19 himself and remains in isolation, led tributes to honour his late brother.

“You have been my inspiration. You have been my strength. You have been my courage. You have been my everything. If not for you, I would not have been half the man I am today. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Now just rest...rest... In this life and if at all I have another, you’ll always be my ‘Annaya’. Love you forever and ever and ever,” posted Mahesh on Instagram.

Mahesh’s wife, actress Namrata Shirodkar also paid tribute to her late brother-in-law. “Gone from our sight but never from our hearts. Annaya was the true pillar of our family. The life lessons he embodied...will always stay with us. We love you Annaya. Rest in eternal peace,” she posted on Instagram.

Several notable personalities from the Telugu film and South Indian film industries paid their last respects to the family.

“Shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Shri.G.Ramesh babu. My heartfelt condolences to Shri.Krishna garu, @urstrulyMahesh and all the family members. May the Almighty give strength to the family to cope with the tragic loss,” posted Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi on Twitter.

Director Sreenu Vaitla posted: “Got shocked and deeply saddened by the unfortunate demise of Ramesh Babu garu. I have beautiful memories with him and every time I interacted with him, I felt like I was with my favourite Krishna garu. Ramesh Babu garu also had the same great qualities of humility and concern.”

Indian politician Jay Galla also paid tribute. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my dear Bavva Garu, Shri Ghattamaneni Ramesh Babu. As an actor & producer, he left a unique & indelible mark on the Indian film industry. As a person he was always warm & affectionate towards everyone, which I admired,” he posted on Twitter.

As an actor, Ramesh had starred in more than 20 films, while producing five films, including the Bollywood film ‘Sooryavansham’ (1999), starring Amitabh Bachchan.

It appears unlikely Mahesh will be at the funeral of his brother as he remains under quarantine at his home after reporting that he had contracted COVID-19 two days ago.