Aaruni Kurup, Kerala's popular 9-year-old TikTok star, passes away from swine flu

With her large eyes and expressive face, 9-year-old Aaruni Kurup had a huge fan following on TikTok. Within a short span of time, Aaruni managed to win thousands of hearts with her videos where she entertained viewers by enacting scenes from old and new Malayalam films. However, her fans were left heartbroken when the little girl passed away on Thursday.

The cause of death was swine flu, the hospital told TNM. Aaruni had been admitted to the ICU of SAT Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, for two days after which she lost the battle for her life.

The cherubic young girl had impressed TikTok viewers with her expressions and lip-syncing abilities. Some of the videos show Aaruni turning into Urvashi from Thalayanamanthram, Lissy from Thalavattam and Isha Talwar from Thattathin Marayathu, imitating the older actors perfectly and winning fans on TikTok and YouTube in the process. She had over 14,000 followers on TikTok.

A native of Kannanallur in Kollam, Aaruni was studying in class 4 at the Sri Sri Academy in Ezhukone. She had been suffering from fever and headache for the last few days, due to which she was admitted to the hospital

“Aaruni’s was a case of H1N1 encephalitis. Even when she was brought to the hospital, she had fever, vomiting and altered sensorium. She had severe seizures when she was admitted and soon became unresponsive. She was on the ventilator for close to 36-48 hours and passed away from brain death on Thursday morning,” the chief of the ICU of SAT hospital told TNM.

Aaruni was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram from Kollam as her fever refused to die down, reports state.

Aaruni's parents are Sanoj and Ashwathy Sanoj. Her father had passed away in a road accident in Saudi Arabia, where he had been working, last year.

Several fans expressed their condolences on social media following Aaruni's death. Videos of her from TikTok and YouTube also circulated on Facebook and Twitter, with several expressing their grief.

Swine flu, or H1N1, is caused by the influenza A virus. It is transmitted from an infected person to another individual through air droplets. Symptoms of swine flu are high fever, cough, cold, fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, and vomiting. People may also present with chills or extreme fatigue and muscle pain known as myalgia. A throat swab and culture will determine whether a person is indeed suffering from swine flu.

People are encouraged to maintain basic hygiene measures such as washing hands, covering their face when coughing and sneezing in order to prevent the transmission of the virus.