PM condoles passing away of Balasaheb Thackeray

New Delhi, Nov. 17 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has condoled the death of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, and said that he was a consummate communicator whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique.

"For him the interests of Maharashtra were particularly important and he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in the people of the State. He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the State politics with his strong leadership and extraordinary organizational skills," said Dr. Singh in his condolence message.

"He was a consummate communicator whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique. The passing away of Bala Saheb will be deeply felt by his family and followers," he added.

The Prime Minister also appealed for calm and sobriety during this period of loss and mourning.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj also expressed profound grief over Balasaheb Thackeray's demise.

"We have cancelled PMs dinner. I am terribly pained to hear that the Lion is dead," she said on twitter.

Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray, who was critically ill for the past few days, passed away at his residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra earlier today. He was 86.

"He had suffered a cardiac arrest. We could not revive him despite our best efforts. He breathed his last at around 3:30 PM," Dr Jalil Parkar, who treated the Sena supremo, told reporters after emerging from Thackeray residence Saturday evening.

Thackeray had been suffering from respiratory problems and pancreatic disease.

He is survived by sons Jaidev and Uddhav, who is the Executive President of the party. (ANI)