Udhagamandalam: Rathi, an 81-year old female elephant, which starred in some hit Tamil films including of superstar Rajnikanth, died of age related illness at the Theppakkadu elephant camp, about 50 km from here.
"Rathi was unable to walk or take food properly for the last couple of days due to age and also loss of teeth. Efforts to revive her failed and she breathed her last at around 7 PM," senior veterinarian Dr Manoharan, who was treating the pachyderm, said.
The elephant had been brought to the camp in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in 1942 when it was nine-years-old. Over time, she bore 10 calves, some of which were donated to various temples, including the famous Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur and Lord Shiva Temple in Pune.
Rathi, a pensioner, was also mother to 25 calves which were either abandoned or strayed into the MTR area, they said.
She "retired" from service at the age of 58 and had been living a stress-free life since then, forest officials said.
The tallest among the camp elephants, Rathi acted in hit films like `Nalla Neram`, starring late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran and `Annai Oru Alayam` which had Tamil superstar Rajnikanth as its hero, to name a few.
The elephant would be buried tomorrow by 6 AM and a large pit is being readied for it.
Ameer Haja, Deputy Director, MTR, said, all elephants in the camp would be brought near the pit and would push the body into it as per practice.