Kolkata: West Bengal Sports and Transport Minister and senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Subhas Chakraborty, a popular leader known for courting controversies, died in hospital here Monday, party officials said. He was 67.
The end came at 11.35 am at the AMRI Hospital, where he had been admitted last Tuesday with lung and kidney disorders besides severe heart problems. He was put on ventilator support before slipping into coma early Monday following multi-organ failure, a weeping state ruling Left Front chairman and CPI-M state unit secretary Biman Bose announced.
Party sources said Chakraborty was also in advanced stage of cancer. He is survived by his wife and a son.
Prominent personalities cutting across all spheres condoled his death.
Former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, whom Chakraborty considered his mentor, expressed shock. Biman Bose said he informed the 96-year-old leader about Chakraborty`s demise.
"He is extremely shocked at the news," Bose told reporters here.
According to Basu`s personal assistant Joy Krishna Ghosh, the nonagenarian leader while expressing sorrow, said: "It is my time to go. But the irony is I am alive, while Subhas is no more. He was a very capable leader."
Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly described Chakraborty as a "great personality".
"I am shocked. I feel sad. I knew for the last few months that Subhasda was ill. He was a great personality," Ganguly said.
"I knew him since my childhood as a family friend. He was a responsible comrade of the CPI-M," Ganguly said.
In a message from Dubai, another former Indian skipper Ravi Sahstri expressed sadness that he would never again see Chakraborty in his trademark Panama hat and the "lovely smile".
Bollywood hero Mithun Chakraborty said Subhas Chakraborty was like an elder brother to him. "I loved him a lot. He helped everybody, irrespective of party affiliations. Every day 100-150 people would come to his residence for help. And nobody returned disappointed."
"He was a great lover of sports. He was always there when somebody was in crisis," said the actor in an emotion-choked voice.
Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said Chakraborty would always be remembered as a great mass leader.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also recalled Chakraborty`s contribution in the ministry as well as in the party organisation.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said: "We were political opponents. But I had the opportunity to work with him as a central minister. People will remember him as a political personality."
A gloom descended in Kolkata`s sports hub, the Maidan, with several clubs flying their flags at half mast.
The state government has declared a day`s mourning. State government offices were closed for the day at 1 p.m. as a mark of respect.
The cremation will be held Tuesday.