Bengaluru: Kannada actor and politician Ambareesh passed away here on Saturday night due to cardiac arrest, sources said. He was 66.
A former Union minister, Ambareesh was rushed to a private hospital at around 9 pm after he complained of breathing problems and died shortly thereafter, the sources at the hospital said. Ambareesh, a three-time Lok Sabha member and also a former state minister, had not been keeping well in recent years. He is survived by actress Sumalatha and a son. Known as a "rebel star", Ambareesh had acted in over 200 films. Entering the tinsel world through the movie, 'Nagarahavu' (king cobra), directed by veteran late Puttanna Kannagal in 1972, Ambareesh had carved a niche for himself in the Kannada film industry, particularly as an "angry man", earning the title "rebel star".
Ambareesh also had a successful career in politics, having been an MLA, a Lok Sabha member and a former minister at the state and central levels.
He had been in the erstwhile Janata Dal, JDS and the Congress in his political career that took a hit when he was asked to resign as a minister during the previous Siddaramaiah government.
Ambareesh had served as the Union minister of state for information and broadcasting from 2006-2008, but had quit the post over the issue of the formation of the Cauvery water dispute tribunal. Ambareesh had won the several state government film awards and was bestowed with the honorary doctorate by the Dharwad University.
Expressing shock over the demise of Ambareesh, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said an era of love and affection in the Kannada film industry had ended. "He was a rebel who was loved by all. He has carved a unique place in both politics and films," said Kumaraswamy, who himself is a film producer.
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, too, condoled the death of the veteran Kannada actor, calling him his "best friend". "A wonderful human being ... my best friend ... I have lost you today and will miss you ... Rest In Peace #Ambrish," he said in the tweet....