Popular comedian Raju Srivastava, who dabbled in movies, made a mark as a stand-up comic and later entered politics, died on Wednesday after more than 40 days in hospital. He was 58.
Srivastava, who joined the BJP in 2014 after a stint with the Samajwadi Party, had a heart attack on August 10 while working out at a Delhi hotel. He was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he underwent an angioplasty procedure. He had been on the ventilator since and never regained consciousness.
"I got a call in the morning saying he is no more. It is really unfortunate news. He had been waging a struggle for life in hospital for over 40 days," his brother Dipoo Srivastava told PTI from Mumbai.
Raju Srivastava, counted as among the most high profile and experienced comics in the country, is survived by his wife and two children.
The artiste, who featured in Hindi films such as "Maine Pyar Kiya" and "Baazigar", was declared dead at 10.20 am, according to hospital sources.
He was chairperson of the Film Development Council Uttar Pradesh.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was among the first to pay his condolences.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing away of renowned comedian, Raju Srivastava ji. Apart from being an accomplished artist, he was also a very lively person. He was also very active in the social field. I extend my condolences to his bereaved family and fans. Shanti!," Singh tweeted.
The entertainment fraternity also paid tribute.
"Raju Srivastava Om Shanti RIP," wrote veteran filmmaker Rakesh Roshan on Instagram.
There will never be another Raju Srivastava, said comedian Rehman Khan.
"Raju Bhai Aap jaisa na koi tha na koi aayega , bahot yaad aaoge aap #RIP #rajusrivastava," he tweeted.
Actor Nimrat Kaur and director Sanjay Gupta remembered the comedian too.
"Deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Late Raju Srivastava ji. May God bless his journey into the light #RIPRajuSrivastava," Kaur tweeted.
"Rest In Peace Raju. Thank you for all these years of fun and laughter," said Gupta.
A familiar face in the entertainment industry since the 1980s, the comedian tasted unparalleled success after participating in the first season of the reality stand-up comedy show "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge" in 2005.