Free Press Journal

Karunanidhi Passes Away: How ailing DMK chief spent his last years


Chennai: 94-old-year Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi called the shots in his party even when at the age of 94. But age was just a number for the veteran politician of Tamil Nadu, also called as ‘Kalaignar’ by his followers. He has also been associated with Tamil film industry after starting out as a screenwriter.

Following is the chronology of key events leading to the death of five time Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.


Oct 25: DMK announces that Karunanidhi is ill due to one of the medicines he was taking. DMK patriarch advised rest by doctors and not to meet visitors. He skips campaign for bypoll to three Assembly segments in November

Dec 1: Admitted to Kauvery Hospital for further treatment for drug-induced allergy.

Dec 8: Advised rest following discharge from hospital.

Dec 15: Admitted again to hospital due to breathing difficulty;

Dec 16: Undergoes tracheostomy;condition stable

Dec 23: Recovers, discharged from hospital.


Aug 16: Karunanidhi undergoes minor procedure at Kauvery Hospital for change of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastronomy (PEG) tube.

Oct 19 : After nearly a year, Karunanidhi makes his first public appearance at an exhibition held in Chennai to showcase the 75-year-journey of DMK’s mouthpiece, ‘Murasoli’. During the year, he also visits party headquarters Anna Arivalayam.


July 18: Karunanidhi undergoes procedure at Kauvery Hospital in which tracheostomy tube is replaced by a new one.

July 25: Seeking to assuage concerns over the top leader’s health, DMK working president M K Stalin says doctors are providing medication to his 94-year-old father for mild fever and there was nothing to worry.

July 26: Kauvery Hospital says there has been slight decline in the leader’s health due to age related ailments; treated for fever due to urinary tract infection;hospital level care’ provided to him at his residence. AIADMK delegation led by deputy chief minister Panneerselvam visits the ailing leader.

July 27: Political leaders make a beeline for the Gopalapuram residence of Karunanidhi. Stalin says his father’s condition was improving.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wish nonagenarian leader a quick recovery.

July 28: Shifted to Kauvery Hospital at 1.30 am due to a dip in his blood pressure, condition stabilised. At 8 pm, hospital says DMK leader continues to remain stable with active medical support.

July 29: Amid anxiety about the leader’s health, at 9.50 pm the hospital says there is a transient setback in his clinical condition, vital signs normalising with active medical support.

July 30: Chief Minister K Palaniswami and deputy O Panneerselvam visit hospital.

July 31: Hospital says Karunanidhi will require an extended period of hospitalisation due to “decline” in his general health though his vital parameters have normalised. Rahul Gandhi, top actor Rajinikanth visit hospital.

Aug 1 : DMK says 21 of its party workers have died unable to bear the “shock” of the illness and hospitalisation of Karunanidhi.

Aug 2: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaks to Stalin over phone and enquires about his father Karunanidhi’s health. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan visits hospital.

Aug 3: JDS chief and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda visits hospital.

Aug 4: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minster N Chandrababu Naidu, and Union minister Suresh Prabhu visit hospital.

Aug 5: President Ram Nath Kovind visits Karunanidhi at hospital.

Aug 6: Hospital says there has been a decline in the medical condition of Karunanidhi and maintaining his vital organ functions continues to remain a challenge considering his age related ailments. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari visits hospital.

Aug 7: Hospital says DMK chief’s condition is extremely critical and unstable. Hospital declares at 6.40 pm that Karunanidhi died at 6.10 pm.