Noted Telugu actor Ranganath, 66, committed suicide by hanging himself in his house in Gandhinagar near Musheerabad on Saturday evening.

Reports suggest that his maid Meenakshi ahd last seen Ranganath at home in the afternoon. Minutes before he committed suicide, the actor had sent a message to his friend, who had invited him to a private event. "I regret my inability to attend function due to backache, I wish you grand success," Deccan Chronicle quoted his message.

Some people, who had come to invite him for a felicitation function, knocked on the door of his house, which was bolted from inside at around 4.30 PM. When they did not get any response from inside, they rang up his daughter, who stays nearby with her family. After she arrived, they broke open the doors and found his body hanging from the ceiling hook in a room.

"His daughter came to visit him with some people who wanted meet him. They found the door locked from inside. When he did not open the door after repeated knocking, they had to break open the door. They found the body hanging from the ceiling," Deccan Chronicle quoted Musheerabad inspector B Mohan Kumar as saying.

After investigating, the police sent the body of Ranganath to the Gandhi hospital for post-mortem. They reportedly registered a case of death under Section 174 of Criminal Procedure Code. They are yet to find out the exact reason behind the actor's suicide.

But the sources from his family claim that he was in depression after his wife's death six years ago. His daughter Neeraja had taken him to the psychiatrist after he spoken about committing suicide. "Ranganath sometimes remarked to his daughter that was it necessary for him to continue life having lost his wife," The Hindu quoted the Inspector as saying.

Ranganath, whose full name is Tirumala Sundara Ranganath, acted in more than 300 Telugu films and some TV serials. He was one of the most talented character artistes and his death has created a vaccum in the industry. Many celebs in industry are shocked by the news about his suicide. A host of Telugu stars including Megastar Chiranjeevi paid him their last respects.