Distinguished Oriya film actor and director Hemant Das, known as “tragedy king” of cinema in Orissa, died on Tuesday after a prolonged illness.

He was 76 and his wife and only son had predeceased him, family sources said.

The end came when Mr. Das was being shifted to SCB medical college and hospital here in serious condition from his native village at Khuranga in Banki sub division of Cuttack district.

The multi-talented actor, known better as tragedy king of Oriya cinema was not keeping good health ever since his wife died in 1990 and only son few years later.

Many Oriya film artistes, his fans and friends rushed to his village to pay homage to the veteran actor. Banki legislator Pravat Tripathy also visited his house and paid tributes to the actor who had acted in over 50 Oriya films and made as many as six mega TV serials. He had also played a powerful role in Hindi film Sodh.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled his death describing Mr. Hemant as a talented actor.

Mr. Hemant had won national and State awards, including Jaydev award in 1991, for outstanding performance. Among films in which he showed his acting prowess are Jajabar, Maa O Mamata, Sesha Shrabana, Danda Balunga, Seeta Rati and Kichhi Smruti Kichhi Anubhuti. His last film was Tume Hin Sathi Moro made in 2009.