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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Indian actor Rajkumar dies at 77
Mourners hold up an image of Rajkumar outside his home in Bangalore
Rajkumar was one of India's most popular actors
Indian film legend Rajkumar, who starred in more than 200 films over five decades, has died aged 77.

Rajkumar, one of the most famous Kannada actors in south India, suffered a cardiac arrest and died in Bangalore.

Rajkumar - whose name was sometimes written Raj Kumar - starred in such films as Bangaradha Manushya (The Golden Man) and Shabdavedi.

He had given up acting in recent years, but remained one of the best-loved figures in south India.

Fans of the actor, who called him Annavaru (elder brother), have been gathering at his home to pay homage.

The BBC's Habib Beary in Bangalore says there have been outbreaks of violence in the southern state of Karnataka following Kumar's death.

Our correspondent says Bangalore, which is popularly known as India's technology capital, has virtually shut down following his death.

He says several incidents of stone-throwing have been reported from the city but police officials said the situation is under control.

Ransom money

Rajkumar's son Raghvendra, also an actor, said his father had recently been under strain following the death of his older brother.

In July 2000, he was kidnapped along with three members of his family from his home in Gajanur, Tamil Nadu, by notorious Indian bandit Veerappan.

His kidnapping sparked violent protests by in his bordering home state of Karnataka with people demanding his immediate release.

Rajkumar was freed by Veerappan after spending weeks living in the forests of south India.

Local reports said a large ransom had been paid for his release, though Rajkumar denied that.

Veerappan, a self-styled champion of the Tamil people, was killed by police in 2004.

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