Former Maharashtra Assembly Speaker and senior NCP leader Babasaheb Kupekar passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday following a prolonged illness, family sources said.

Kupekar, 70, had been suffering from cancer and he breathed at his last at the Jaslok hospital Wednesday morning, where he was admitted in the ICU more than a month ago, sources said.

He is survived by wife and three daughters.

Kupekar, who represented the Gadhinglaj constituency in Kolhapur district, was also a former chairman of the State Planning Board.

The mortal remains will be taken to his hometown later in the day and the funeral will take place Thursday morning.

Kupekar’s real name was Krishnarao Rakhmajirao Desai.

In the Congress-NCP coalition government, he served as minister of state for cooperation, environment, labour and industries from 1999-2004. Later, he was elevated as the Legislative Assembly Speaker.

In his hometown, he headed several educational institutions.

Kupekar began his political career as a sarpanch of Kanadewadi in the Gadhinglaj taluka. He was also the director of Kolhapur District Cooperative Bank.

Before 1999, he was the general secretary of the Maharashtra Congress and after NCP came in existence, he was appointed president of the Kolhapur district NCP unit.