Indian comic book pioneer 'Uncle Pai' dies at 81

The publisher of Indian comic book illustrator Anant Pai's series on Hindu mythology says the artist has died from a heart attack at age 81.

ACK Media Marketing Manager Rushabh Sanghavi says Pai died unexpectedly late Thursday after undergoing surgery on Saturday for a fractured foot.

The fracture forced him to skip India's first-ever Comic Con over the weekend, where fans gave him a lifetime achievement award that was collected by his longtime editor Reena I. Puri.

Pai, affectionately known as "Uncle Pai," is credited with helping to launch India's comic book industry in the 1960s with his "Amar Chitra Katha" series chronicling the ancient Hindu epics Mahabarata and Ramayana. In 1980 he released the first comic in his wholesome children's series "Tinkle."