Veteran leader and the oldest member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Samar Mukherjee, whose 100th birthday was celebrated by the party in November last year, died at a city hospital here on Thursday.

 “He was admitted to a hospital with breathing problems on Wednesday night. He passed away at about 10 a.m. during the day,” Rabin Deb, State Secretariat member of the party, told The Hindu . As per Mr. Mukherjee’s wishes, the body was donated to the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital, he said.

 “He was an exceptional, outstanding, affable and easily accessible leader who was loved by the people,” Mr. Deb said.

  Mr. Mukherjee joined the Communist Party of India in 1940 and became the member of the CPI(M) in 1964. Known for his spartan lifestyle, he left his family to live in a party commune in Howrah in 1940. In 1965 he moved to the commune of the party at Dilkhusa Street in the south of the city and lived there till the end of his life.

 His body was taken to the Howrah District Committee Office, State headquarters of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions and the party headquarters where a number of people lined up to offer their tributes.

 Six members of the CPI(M)’s Polit Bureau including the State’s former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, party’s State Secretary Biman Bose, and Brinda Karat offered their tributes to the veteran leader.

 Mr. Mukherjee represented Howrah in the Lok Sabha for three consecutive terms between 1971 and 1984. Earlier, he was a member of the West Bengal assembly from 1957 to 1971. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986.

  Leaders cutting across different political parties also showered praise on the leader.

State president of Congress Pradip Bhattacharya described him as a “knowledgeable leader,” whom he held in high regard while Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said that he was a “thorough gentleman.”