South Indian Malayalam actor Thilakan dies

South India actor Thilakan
Image caption The popular Malayalam actor starred in more than 200 films during his career

Leading southern Indian stage and film actor Thilakan has died at the age of 77.

The actor, who is from the state of Kerala, suffered from a heart attack early on Monday, his family said.

Thilakan began his career in the theatre before playing his first role on screen in 1979.

He starred in more than 200 Malayalam films and received a Padma Shree, one of the top civilian honours from the government, in 2009.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that Thilakan's death was a "big loss to the world of art".

In his early years, the actor was part of various drama troupes, including the Kerala Peoples' Arts Centre and Kalidasa Kalakendram.

Well known as a character actor, Thilakan's films included Nirmalyam, Ekantham and Keeridam and he acted in several films with top star Mohanlal.

The last movie he starred in was Ustad Hotel.

Thilakan was also a well known voice in radio plays.

The veteran actor was admitted to hospital on 23 August with a cardiac problem.

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