• Bal Thackeray, waves towards the media as he arrives to cast his vote at a polling centre during the Maharashtra elections in Mumbai October 13, 2009.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray greets election officials before casting his vote during parliamentary elections in Mumbai April 26, 2004.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray gestures to the crowd after he cast his vote in parliamentary elections as his son Uddhav looks on in Mumbai April 26, 2004. REUTERS/Sherwin Crasto/FilesReuters
  • The Prime Minister and leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (L), and Bal Thackeray (R) wave to the crowd during an election campaign rally in Mumbai April 23, 2004.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray addresses a public rally in Bombay in this picture taken October 15, 2002.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray holds up a book during a book launch in Bombay, August 7, 2001.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray addresses a news conference while standing next to a map showing Kashmir region, in Mumbai, July 13, 2001.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray (R), leader of the militant Shiv Sena Party gestures during a meeting with Kenneth Lay, chairman of the U.S. based Enron Corp, in Bombay, July 11, 2001.Reuters
  • Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, singer Lata Mangeshkar, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and Bal Thackeray appear during a concert in Mumbai, late March 5, 2001. The concert was organised by Shiv Sena Party to collect funds in aid of quake relief. Reuters/Savita Kirloskar/FilesReuters
  • Bal Thackeray and Lt General P.N Hoon, a retired army officer, jointly announce the launch of a trust to take care of the families of soldiers fighting in Kashmir, during a news conference in Mumbai, August 16, 2000.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray flashes a victory sign to his supporters outside a city court in Mumbai after the judge dismissed a case against him for his alleged role in a 1992-93 Hindu-Muslim riot. Standing beside him is then union minister for heavy industries Manohar Joshi.Reuters
  • BJP leader L.K.Advani (R) meets Bal Thackeray in Mumbai July 6, 2000.Reuters
  • Bal Thackeray prepares to pose with new chief minister Narayan Rane (L) of Maharashtra and deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde (R) before the swearing in ceremony in Bombay Febuary 1, 1999.Reuters

Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray, founder and chief of the Shiv Sena party, died of cardiac arrest on Saturday evening. Thackeray breathed his last at around 3.30 pm at his Mumbai residence "Matoshree".

Born to Keshav Sitaram in Pune, Thackeray started his professional career as a cartoonist with the English-language daily newspaper "The Free Press Journal" in Mumbai, but left it in 1960.

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He then formed his own political cartoon weekly "Marmik" through which he campaigned against the influence of Gujaratis, Marwaris, and south Indians in Mumbai. In 1966, Thackeray formed Shiv Sena to strongly support the position of Maharashtrians in Mumbai.

He later launched Sena's Marathi newspaper 'Saamana' in 1989. He is popularly called as the 'Hindu Hriday Samrat' (ruler of Hindu hearts).

He is survived by his two sons Jaidev and Uddhav and their families. He was married to Meena Thackeray and had three sons Bindumadhav, Jaidev and Uddhav. His wife and eldest son Bindumadhav died in 1996.

Thackeray had not been keeping well for quite a sometime and was rumoured to have died earlier this week. After his death normalcy in Mumbai came to halt with shops and commercial establishments closed. Auto rickshaws and taxis also stayed off streets, Reuters reported.

Thackeray's body has been kept for public viewing in Shivaji Park, Dadar, and his cremation will take place at 6 pm.

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