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Pulamaipithan, the veteran Tamil poet, lyricist and former presidium chairman of the AIADMK party, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday. He was 86.

According to a PTI report, the poet was suffering from age-related ailments. He was admitted to the hospital on August 31, where he was put on life support. His condition deteriorated leading to his death on Wednesday morning, as per a statement from the hospital.

Pulamaipithan was born as Ramasamy on October 6, 1935, in Irugur in Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu. 

The poet, who became popularly known as Pulavar Pulamaipithan, had worked in a textile mill in Coimbatore during his early years. He studied Tamil literature at Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar College in Perur, Coimbatore and later moved to Chennai in 1964 to make a career as a lyricist in the Tamil film industry. Before getting his break in cinema, he also worked as a Tamil teacher at Santhome High School.

Pulamaipithan rose to fame after writing the Naan yaar nee yaar song featured in the 1968 Tamil film Kudiyirundha Koyil, starring former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MG Ramachandran (MGR). He later served as the Deputy Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council and was appointed as the ‘Arasavai Kavignar’ (poet laureate) by MGR.

Pulamaipithan wrote songs for actors ranging from MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, to Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan, and later even Vijay. He won four Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for songs in films like Madhuraiyai Meetta Sudharapandiyan, Engamma Maharani, and Pathini Penn. The Government of Tamil Nadu also conferred Pulamaipithan with the Periyar Award in 2001. 

Some of Pulamaipithan’s popular songs include Ethilum Ingu from Bharathi (2000), Vedham Nee and Amuthe Tamizhe from Koyil Pura (1981), Aayiram Nilave Vaa from Adimai Penn (1969), Neenga Nalla Irukkanum from Idhyakkani (1975), and Thaimai from Theri (2016). He wrote all five songs in the Vadivelu-starrer Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi.

Several artists from the Tamil film industry and political leaders paid tribute to the late lyricist.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, in a statement, recalled that Pulamaipithan was considered the audience’s favourite poet for his romantic lyrics and noted the lyricist’s contribution to his own film Nayakan.

Chief Minister MK Stalin paid his respects to Pulamaipithan in a statement. He said, “A firm believer in Dravidian ideology, he was involved in politics and stood by (former chief minister) MG Ramachandran in his time. He was a recipient of Periyar award and several such awards. I express my condolences to the bereaved members of his family, friends and AIADMK partymen.”