Kolkata: Veteran Bengali actor and former Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul died of a cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hospital early Tuesday, his wife said. He was 61.
Paul, who had a long history of heart problems, was admitted to a private hospital in Mumbai, where he had gone to meet his daughter in January.
The two-term former MP from Krishnanagar, who moved away from both cinema and active politics after the CBI arrested him in the Rose Valley chit-fund scam in December 2016, is survived by his daughter Sohini and wife Nandini.
According to Nandini Paul, the actor was rushed to hospital on February 1 after he fell ill at the Mumbai airport on his way to the United States for treatment.
The actor-politician, known for films such as "Saheb" and "Amar Bandhan", was on the ventilator till February 6.
"He was taken off the ventilator and was recovering, but suddenly his condition worsened and he died of cardiac arrest around 3.30 am on Tuesday," Nandini Paul told PTI.
Paul had been suffering from heart ailments and been in and out of hospitals for treatment during the past two years.
He was born in Chandannagar in Hooghly district and graduated from Hooghly Mohsin College in bioscience.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in her condolence message that Paul's death had left a deep void in films and politics.
"Saddened and shocked to hear about the demise of Tapas Paul. He was a superstar of Bengali cinema who was a member of the Trinamool family. Tapas served the people as a two-term MP and MLA. We will miss him dearly. My condolences to his wife Nandini, daughter Sohini and his many fans," Banerjee tweeted.
A romantic hero, having endeared himself to the Bengali audience since his debut film "Dadar Kirti" in 1980, Paul became a household name with his leading roles in "Parabat Priya" (1984), "Bhalobasa Bhalobasa" (1985), "Anurager Choyan" and "Amar Bandhan" (1986).
He made his Bollywood debut in Hiren Nag's "Abodh" (1984) opposite Madhuri Dixit Nene.
"The loss of Tapas Paul who was one of the very first actors, I have worked with is felt by many. May God bless and comfort his family during this difficult period," Madhuri wrote on Twitter.
He was awarded the Filmfare Award for "Saheb" (1981).
In a career spanning over three decades, Paul had worked with veteran actors Prosenjit Chatterjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Ranjit Mallick and Raakhee Gulzar.
Some of his last appearances were in films such as "Khiladi" and "Aat ta Aater Bongaon Local".
Actor Ranjit Mallick described Paul's death as "untimely".
"I am yet to come to terms with the news. He was like my younger brother. He was not keeping well for some time," Mallick said.
Paul's colleagues in films and politics, actors Debasree Roy and Chiranjeet Chakraborty, both TMC MLAs, said they had lost a dear friend and the film industry a brilliant actor.
Paul, inspired by Banerjee and her fight against the Left Front regime, joined the Trinamool Congress in 2000 two years after it was formed.
He was elected as the MLA from Alipore Assembly seat in 2001.
Paul was elected as the MP from Kishnanagar Lok Sabha seat for two consecutive terms from 2009.
After his arrest in the Rose Valley chit-fund scam, Paul's family members had time and again alleged that the party did not bother to enquire about him. He was arrested and given bail after 13 months.
After his release from prison in 2018, Paul withdrew from active politics and communicated to the TMC his unwillingness to contest elections.