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Maran dies after 15-month battle

Chennai, Nov. 23: Veteran DMK leader Murasoli Maran died here this evening after a 15-month battle for life in the wake of multiple health complications. He was 69.

The condition of the Union minister without portfolio worsened over the last two days and he died around 7.10 pm, sources close to Maranís family said. He was in the ICU at Apollo Hospitals here for more than the last two months.

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi was by the bedside of his nephew, who was an ideologue of the Dravidian movement.

Maran first became an MP in a 1967 bypoll and was re-elected four years later. Though defeated in 1977, he was returned to the Lok Sabha in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He was a Rajya Sabha member for two terms.

A minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government since 1999, Maran fell ill but made a miraculous recovery in 2000. He underwent heart surgery at Delhiís All India Institute of Medical Sciences in July 2002 to implant a mitral valve prosthesis.

He was admitted to Apollo Hospitals last September when he developed fever and, later, complications. He underwent a mitral valve replacement surgery. Maran later suffered liver and kidney failure after a fungal infection and was put on dialysis.

Vajpayee and his party extended all help for Maranís treatment. On November 13, 2002, a special air ambulance flew him to Methodist Hospital in Houston in the US.

Another valve replacement surgery later, he showed some improvement but no radical recovery. Early this September, Maranís family decided to bring him home. On his arrival on September 7, he was taken to Apollo, where he continued to be on ventilator.

Vajpayee called on the ailing leader on September 13 when he came to Chennai to inaugurate the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Hindu.

On the Maran familyís request, doctors at Apollo stopped giving regular medical bulletins on his health.

It was rumoured then that Maran had slipped into a coma, though he was responding to human signals. But neither the hospital nor the family confirmed it.

Maran will be cremated tomorrow, family sources said.

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