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Kannada actor Vishnuvardhan passes away

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Vishnuvardhan
Vishnuvardhan

Leading Kannada film actor Vishnuvardhan died in the early hours of today after a massive heart attack at the Vikram Hospital in Mysore, sources said.

They said he had complained of pain in the chest last night and was taken to hospital, where he breathed his last around 0230 hours this morning.

He was 59. He is survived by his wife Bharati, an actress, and two daughters, Keerthi and Chandana.

Thousands of people gathered outside the actor's residence in Bangalore's Jayanagar area on hearing about his death. Later, his body was kept at the National College grounds in the city to enable people to pay their last respects.

Born on September 18, 1950 as Sampath Kumar to the late H L Narayan Rao, a well-known artiste and script writer for movies, and the late Kamakshamma, Vishnuvardhan did his primary schooling at Mysore's Gopalswamy School and later studied at the Kannada Madari School and the National College in Bangalore.

In his 37 years in the Kannada film industry, Vishnuvardhan, popularly kown as Sahasasimha, had acted in nearly 200 films and created for himself a very loyal fan following.

He started his career with the National Award winning film "Vamshavruksha" made by Girish Karnad. He adopted his screen name Vishnuvardhan at the suggestion of Puttana Kanagal, who directed "Nagarahaavu", in which he played a lead role for the first time and became a star overnight. Over the years, he built a reputation as a very versatile, talented and stylish actor, who was at home in all kinds of roles -- romantic, action, comedy and family drama.

He had won as many as seven state awards and five Filmfare awards for his roles in various movies.

Vishnuvardhan also sang in some of his films and had recorded devotional songs for albums.

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