Actor Puneeth Rajkumar dies aged 46 following cardiac arrest

Puneeth Rajkumar, the leading star of southern Indian regional cinema, a renowned singer and producer has died following a heart attack. Rajkumar had performed lead roles in 29 movies and also appeared on television, where he was hosting the Kannada-language version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

He was taken to Vikram hospital in Bengaluru, the capital of southern Karnataka state, after complaining of increasing chest pain, the hospital stated.

Dr Ranganath Nayak, a cardiologist at the hospital, said in a statement that Rajkumar was not responding and his heart had stopped when he arrived.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported Rajkumar had started having chest pains after working out for two hours at a gym.

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, joined in mourning Rajkumar’s death, saying that future generations would remember him fondly for his work and wonderful personality. Fans rushed to the hospital as news of his heart attack spread in the city.

The 46-year-old was the son of Dr. Rajkumar, the biggest film star in southern India, but he had built his career on his own. After acting as a child in several films, he debuted as a lead actor in the 2002 Kannada-language movie Appu. He followed that with other successful films including Abhi, Veera Kannadiga, Maurya, Ajay and Arasu.

He is survived by his wife, Ashwini Revanth, and two daughters.

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