India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu is mourning the death of one of its charismatic leader Jayaram Jayalalithaa, after she failed to recover from a cardiac arrest late Monday night.
The streets of Chennai thronged with supporters and friends of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who served as chief minister of the state from 2014, as an enormous crowd gathered at a public hall where her body lay draped in an Indian flag ahead of a state funeral at the city’s marina beach area, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Ms. Jayalalithaa, who has a cult-like following in the state, was on life support systems Monday. She had been recovering from a monthslong illness.
The 68-year-old head of India’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party featured in more than 100 Tamil-language films that catapulted her to fame, before she started her political career in the 1980s.
Many people waited on news about her deteriorating health late Monday evening.
When Ms. Jayalalithaa’s body arrived at her home in the state capital of Chennai overnight, hundreds of wailing and grieving supporters jostled and clashed with police, knocking down barricades as they tried to push closer.
During Ms. Jayalalithaa’s tumultuous 35-year political career, her popularity wasn’t diminished by corruption investigations and a short imprisonment in 2014.
Corrections & Amplifications
–Ms. Jayalalithaa’s political career started in the 1980s. An earlier version of this post said it started in 1980.
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