Eminent cartoonist R K Laxman passed away at a hospital in Pune on Monday, where he was on life support for the past few days. He was 94. Best known for the creation of the pocket cartoon the “common man”, doctors said he died due to cardiac arrest, septicemia and multipule organ failure.
Laxman’s body will be kept near the statue of the “common man” at the Symbiosis Institute in Pune at 10 am and the funeral will be held at Vaikunth Crematorium at noon.
Brother of novelist the late R K Narayan, Laxman is survived by wife Kamala and son Srinivas, retired journalist. Laxman, who was admitted to the Aster Medipoint Hospital in Aundh area on January 16 for altered sensorium and breathlessness, was shifted to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital on January 17. Laxman was a patient of diabetes and hypertension.
Laxman was diagnosed with complicated urinary tract infection leading to sepsis and multi-organ failure along with the comorbidities at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital. “Laxman was brought in an unconscious state and doctors had been supporting him with drugs and stabilising him on the ventilator since the last nine days,” Medical Director Dr Dhananjay Kelkar said. He was admitted under the supervision of Dr Sameer Jog (Consultant Intensivist) and Dr Aditya Bhabe (Consultant Nephrologist).
Born in Mysore on October 24, 1921, Laxman’s father was a headmaster and he was the youngest of six sons. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2005. According to educationist S B Mujumdar who knew Laxman since 1985, Laxman owned a bungalow in Aundh area which the family used to frequent on and off when they used to stay in Mumbai.
“I think the Pune house served as a holiday home for the family. They used to visit it since 1999 or 2000. After a few years, they shifted to Pune and used to stay here for most of the year. Then the bungalow was demolished and an apartment came up there. The family then shifted in one of the apartments and stay there currently,” Mujumdar said.
He said Laxman suffered a stroke in September 2003 which left him paralysed on the left side.
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“Although half his body was paralysed he kept drawing his daily cartoons with the right hand. He later partly recovered from its effects. Then again he suffered three mini-strokes in June 2010 and was hospitalised at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. His health later improved.” In October 2012, Laxman celebrated his 91st birthday in Pune.