Kochi: Former MP and veteran Malayalam actor Innocent died on Sunday at a private hospital here. He was 75.
The actor, who was under treatment at the hospital since March 3, breathed his last at 10.30 pm.
”He was infected with Covid and had respiratory issues along with multiple organ failure resulting in heart failure,” the hospital said in a release.
As the news of his death spread, social media was flooded with messages from people from all walks of life, including prominent actors and politicians, expressing their condolences and grief.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a Facebook post condoled the actor’s death and said that Innocent has left an indelible place in the minds of his audience with his spontaneous acting style.
Vijayan also remembered him as a public activist who touched the lives of the people around him.
Kerala will remember with gratitude that Innocent, who always had a left-wing mindset, became a Lok Sabha candidate at the request of the Left Democratic Front and after winning, prominently raised Kerala’s demands in Parliament,” he said in his post.
Vijayan further said that Innocent’s death was a great loss to the art and culture as well as the general political scene. ”It is a total loss for Malayalees,” he added.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan also condoled the actor’s death, saying that Innocent, who made everyone laugh for decades ”has become a painful memory today”. ”Innocent, who has acted in more than 600 films, is one of the comedians who put Malayalam cinema on the world map,” he said.
State Cultural Affairs Minister, Saji Cheriyan, took to Twitter to express his grief over the actor’s demise.
”Deeply saddened by the passing of legendary Malayalam actor and former MP #Innocent. His performances on screen brought joy to countless fans. As a parliamentarian, he fought for the welfare of his constituents. Rest in Power, sir. You will be missed. #innocentactor,” he tweeted.
Many popular actors, like Prithviraj Sukumaran, his brother Indrajith, Manju Warrier, and Tovino Thomas condoled Innocent’s death on Twitter and Instagram.
”End of an iconic chapter in cinema history! Rest in peace Legend! #Innocent,” Prithviraj tweeted.
”Pranaamam… #RIP #Innocent,” Indrajith said on Instagram.
”Thanks, Innocent chetta (brother)! For the laughs given… not only on screen but also in life…#RIP #actorinnocent,” Manju Warrier posted in Malayalam on her Instagram.
Senior actor Jayaram said Innocent’s demise was another huge loss for Indian cinema. ”I am at a loss for words at the moment as a brotherhood that lasted for over three decades has come to an end and I consider myself the luckiest to have known him and to have shared screen space with him throughout the years. My deepest condolences to the family. #RIP innocent etta,” Jayaram posted on Instagram.
BJP National Executive Committee Member Khushbu Sundar tweeted, ”Devastated!! We have lost a great actor. Moreso a great human being. What a legend he was. With the passing away of #Innocent Sir, we have lost a priceless gem. May his soul rest in peace. Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and his followers.” Innocent entered the film industry as a producer and began his acting career, which included both comedy and character roles, in 1972.
His latest movie was Prithviraj starrer ‘Kaduva’ and the last film he acted in was ‘Pachuvum Atbuthavilakkum’ directed by Anoop Sathyan, son of ace director Satyan Anthikad.
Besides his acting career, he was active in politics also.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the actor was elected from Chalakudy constituency in Thrissur district as a Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate but lost his constituency in the 2019 elections to Benny Behanan of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Innocent tried his luck at writing scripts and also sang a few songs in the films Mr Butler’ and ‘Sandram’.
He was diagnosed with cancer twice and yet always maintained a positive attitude towards life, a fact remembered by many in their condolence messages on social media.
The actor was admitted to the critical care unit of the hospital and was on ECMO support.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a form of cardiopulmonary support where the patient’s blood is pumped and oxygenated outside the body using a machine.
The actor-turned-politician has reportedly not been well for some time.
A few years ago, he had been diagnosed with cancer but in 2015 he announced that he was finally cured of the disease.