Acclaimed Malayalam poet and environmental activist Sugathakumari passed away Wednesday at the Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram due to Covid-19 complications. She was 86.
The Padma Shri awardee had been keeping unwell for a while and had been admitted to the hospital due to severe pneumonia after testing positive for Covid-19 the past week. She was even put on a ventilator support after her body stopped responding to medication. According to doctors, she was suffering from bronchopneumonia, a condition that causes inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs.
The poet was a significant voice in Malayalam literature and wrote extensively on nature and human beings alike, her empathy acting as a binder for both. In her lifetime, she received several literary awards like the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi award, Odakkuzhal award, Ezhuthachan award among others.
As news of her demise spread, several people took to Twitter to share condolences and paid tributes. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, expressed sorrow and wrote, “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of poet Sugathakumari. As a doyenne of Malayalam literature & with a career that spans decades, she has left an indelible mark on Kerala’s cultural life. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family & join them in sorrow.”
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of poet Sugathakumari. As a doyenne of Malayalam literature & with a career that spans decades, she has left an indelible mark on Kerala’s cultural life. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family & join them in sorrow. pic.twitter.com/rvxCptGYLA
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) December 23, 2020
Others writers and politicians too paid their tributes.
Sugathakumari teacher was a legendary poet and activist. My dad used to read me her poems to put me to sleep when I was young. Even though I didn’t understand most of it, it left an imprint in my mind that nothing can erase. Farewell legend. We will miss you. ♥️#RIP pic.twitter.com/yw9A4PQ76H
— Arya (@RantingDosa) December 23, 2020
— Vishnuvardhan P Menon (@VishnuvpmSinger) December 23, 2020
My tribute to someone who influenced me hugely as Environment Minister, poet-activist Sugathakumari. pic.twitter.com/ZkRZqr6ruk
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) December 23, 2020
The tragic end has come, As i bow my head in tribute to the departed soul, i recall many moments at her side, from felicitating her SaraswatiSamman, to addressing environmentalists alongside her, to listening to her at the @mathrubhumi International LitFest in Tvm (attached). RIP https://t.co/qcAv8KwJyu pic.twitter.com/FMj5kQbEDX
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