Laxman, brother of late English novelist R.K. Narayan, is survived by writer wife Kamala, retired journalist son Srinivas and daughter-in-law Usha.
He had been admitted to a private hospital around 10 days ago for a urinary tract infection and lung problems, where he breathed his last at 6.10 p.m. Monday, Srinivas told.
As there was no improvement in his condition, Laxman was shifted to the Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital here and put on ventilator last Sunday (Jan 18).
Laxman had suffered multiple organ failure, but had responded well to treatment and was bouncing back. Three days later, he was removed from ventilator and shifted to the intensive care unit.
He was renowned for his creation of “The Common Man”, which ran for many decades in The Times of India under the brand name “You Said It”.
“He was first admitted to a hospital nearby Jan 16, but his condition showed no improvement. Later, we moved him to Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital where he showed a miraculous recovery,” Srinivas told IANS.
He said Laxman’s 89-year-old wife Kamala took the news of her husband’s demise stoically.
“The past 10 days have been extremely unnerving… the uncertainty of his health was a concern for the entire family,” Srinivas said from Pune.
Born in Mysore in Karnataka Oct 24, 1921, Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Laxman was attracted to sketching from his early childhood.
He was first married to Bharatanatyam exponent and film actress Kamala, who was known in the film industry as ‘Baby Kamala’, and who later graduated to adult roles as ‘Kumari Kamala’.
The couple split and Laxman subsequently married a prominent author of children’s books, also named Kamala.
His son Srinivas Laxman is a senior journalist with The Times of India and a a specialist on aviation, space and defence.
People from all walks of life expressed shock and sadness at the demise of Laxman.
Vice President Hamid Ansari condoled Laxman’s death, saying “he touched lives of millions by his incisive humour”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death, saying: “We are grateful to you for adding the much needed humour in our lives and always bringing smiles on our faces.
“My condolences to the family and countless well-wishers of a legend whose demise leaves a major void in our lives. RIP R.K. Laxman.”
Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, expressing condolence, said Laxman “made his daily point while making us laugh”.
Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “The man who made us laugh has left us in tears. The legendary cartoonist R.K. Laxman will always be remembered for his gentle humour.”
Maharashtra Congress president Manikrao Thakre expressed deep grief on the demise of Laxman and offered condolences to his family.
BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said in a tweet that India has lost a great artist who taught people the nuances of creative satire with the prowess of his brush and brain — both supremely sharp.
“Apart from everything else, he will be remembered as one who gave authentic voice to genuine agonies and aspirations of the common man,” Sahasrabuddhe said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said India has just lost her pre-eminent common man and Bollywood actor-director Farhan Akhtar said: “The common man has just lost its first citizen.”
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde described Laxman as “a great cartoonist and writer, his works gave the common man a voice and hope for a change”.
Industrialist Anand Mahindra said Laxman “kept us in good humour as our country went through its growth pangs… we owe many embedded images of ourselves and India to him”.
Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackeray said it was an honour to meet Laxman a few years ago. “But to see my grandfather (the late Bal Thackeray) meet him, was to travel in a time machine to see mutual love and respect.”