H Vasanthkumar, Congress MP from Kanyakumari constituency in Tamil Nadu, passed away on Friday after a three-week battle against COVID-19. He is the first sitting MP to have succumbed to the viral illness, which has infected millions and killed thousands around the world.
The 70-year-old Congress leader was admitted to Apollo Hospitals in Greams Road on August 10, where he was being treated for severe COVID pneumonia. Due to his critical condition, he was put on ECMO and ventilator.
Following the news of his demise, condolences poured in.
"The party has given him the highest posting and made him proud. He has helped many during his lifetime, including those who worked for him at Vasantha and Co," said Congress party member Vijayadharini.
"Even during the last Parliament session he was constantly raising his voice to bring back Tamil Nadu's fishermen who were stuck in Iran. He has always spoken for the people whenever he got the opportunity to do so in the House. I think he could feature among the MPs from Tamil Nadu who spoke the most in the Parliament," VCK's Member of Parliament Ravikumar, said.
"Deeply saddened at the untimely demise of a born fighter, resolute Congressman, M.P & Working President of TNCC - Sh. H. Vasanthakumar. All of us, along with lakhs of his supporters, will always miss him deeply. Heartfelt condolences to family & well wishers. RIP," Randeep Singh Surjewala, Permanent Invitee Member of Congress Working Committee, tweeted.
"He would always enthusiastically take part in Parliamentary sessions. He came up in life as a result of his hardwork and has served as an example for many youngsters. It is very rare to see someone like him. He had several plans for his constituency and would speak for it whenever he got the opportunity to do so," said DMK's MP Kanimozhi.
Vasanthkumar is survived by his wife, Tamil Selvi, who is also undergoing treatment for COVID-19. The senior political leader is a two-time MLA who was first elected from Nanguneri constituency in 2006 and then again in 2016. He also defeated MP and then Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan during 2019 Lok Sabha elections.