Hyderabad: Shock and grief over the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash has claimed as many as 67 lives across the state since Thursday, media reports said Friday.
About 60 people died of shock on hearing the news of their leader`s death over television, others committed suicide, unable to bear the loss. Most of those who died of shock were watching news of YSR`s death on television.
Telugu television channels have put the number of YSR`s admirers who lost their lives at 67. This is the first time in the state`s history that such a large number of people have died of shock or committed suicide over the death of any political leader.
YSR, as the late leader was popularly known, has surpassed even in his death the popularity of actor and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder N.T. Rama Rao who died in 1996.
A large number of those who died of shock include young supporters and fans of YSR and the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes launched by him during last five years. They suffered cardiac arrest following the news of the chief minister`s death in crash.
The deaths were reported from 19 out of 23 districts in the state. In the coastal district of West Godavari alone six people died of shock and four committed suicide.
"YSR dedicated his life to people, I am dedicating my life to him," a youth wrote in his suicide note before consuming pesticides.
A physically handicapped couple, who were getting monthly pension under a welfare scheme, attempted suicide by jumping into the Godavari river but were saved by fishermen.
In Hyderabad, 42-year-old Yadgiri died of shock while watching news of YSR`s death on television. M. Srinivas, 30, suffered cardiac arrest.