Noted littérateur and Sahitya Akademi president Sunil Gangopadhyay passed away here in the early hours of Tuesday. He was 78 and leaves behind his wife and son.
His family said that he was under treatment for some ailments and of late had lost appetite and become very frail.
He suffered a massive cardiac arrest around 2 a.m. at his South Kolkata residence just as Durga Puja celebrations were reaching a crescendo on the penultimate day of the four-day festival.
His body has been kept at a city funeral parlour till his son arrives from the United States. Mr. Gangopadhyay’s sudden demise cast a pall of gloom on the ongoing festivities, which close with Dussehra on Wednesday.
“The literary world was a silent witness to an immersion a day ahead of the idol of Goddess Durga being immersed in the river,’’ a grief-struck admirer said.
Author of over 200 books, Mr. Gangopadhyay declared that poetry was his “first love.” He was the founder editor of Kritibas, a seminal poetry magazine that started publishing in 1953 and became a platform for a new generation of poets experimenting with new forms.
Condolence pours in
President Pranab Mukherjee, in a condolence message, said that Mr. Gangopadhyay had enriched Bengali literature through his unique style. He was one of the best intellectuals among his contemporaries. “The vacuum created by his death cannot be filled,” said the President, who is currently at his ancestral home in Mirati, Birbhum.
West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan also expressed his grief over Mr. Gangopadhyay’s demise. He said that Mr. Gangopadhyay made an epoch-making contribution to modern Bengali poetry and was also a great writer of prose. “I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family and his numerous admirers on his demise.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “ I condole the death of renowned poet and novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay whose contribution to Bengali literature is unquestionable. His death creates a void.” “I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
The former Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was closely associated with the writer since 1964, said that Bengali literature would remain ever indebted to him.