Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar, who was rushed to a private hospital in Bengaluru after complaining of chest pains on Friday, was unresponsive when he was brought to the emergency department, hospital authorities have said in a statement.
“Mr Puneeth Rajkumar aged 46 years was brought to the emergency department, Vikram Hospital with history of chest pain at 11:40 am. He was non responsive and was in Cardiac Asystole and advanced cardiac resuscitation has been initiated,” read the statement issued by Vikram Hospital, where the actor has been admitted.
“His condition is serious. Can’t say anything as of now. His condition was bad when brought to the hospital, treatment is on in ICU,” Dr Ranganath Nayak of Vikram Hospital had told ANI earlier.
The actor had complained of chest pain around 11:30 am on Friday.
Son of legendary Indian actor and singer Rajkumar, Puneeth first appeared in films as a toddler, in Premada Kanike (1976). He later debuted in a lead role with the 2002 film Appu and is still fondly called Appu by fans and peers.
As news broke of the actor suffering a heart attack, fans thronged Vikram Hospital on Friday afternoon. A huge crowd of fans was spotted outside the hospital premises. Bengaluru police have cordoned off roads adjoining the hospital, including Ali Askar Road and Cunningham Road due to massive crowds.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was among those who rushed to the hospital after hearing the news on Friday.
The Karnataka government has alerted Bengaluru police officers to tighten security in the city. Offices have reportedly shut shop early and sent out messages to employees, asking them to “head straight home” to avoid massive traffic jams.
Meanwhile, even before the hospital issued an official statement, rumours of the actor’s death started doing the rounds on social media, with prominent figures like Lakshmi Manchu and actor Priya Anand paying their condolences.
“Heartbroken. Will always miss you, my brother. #PuneethRajkumar,” tweeted Sonu Sood.
“The nicest person I’ve had the honor of crossing paths with… My Raajakumara,” tweeted Priya Anand, who starred opposite Puneeth in the 2017 Kannada film Raajakumara.
Puneeth was last seen in the Kannada action film Yuvarathnaa. He was last shooting for the upcoming film James, directed by Chethan Kumar. In April, the actor had announced that he will begin work on another Kannada film, directed by Pawan Kumar and produced by Hombale Films.