Popular Malayalam actor passes away at 61: Pinarayi Vijayan and top stars mourn the loss!

Popular Malayalam actor Pradeep KR, well-known as Pradeep Kottayam, has passed away on Thursday -February 17 at the age of 61 in Kottayam due to a heart attack. Following the demise of a veteran actor of the successful film industry, several leaders including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and actors had paid tribute as they mourn for this irreplaceable loss. 

According to reports, Pradeep had complained of chest pain in the morning hours of Thursday and his family members had taken him to a hospital in Kottayam. However, the doctors had pronounced him dead. Reputedly known for his comic roles and for his distinctive style of dialogue delivery, Pradeep had garnered prominence across and beyond the borders through the slew of his notable works. He also had acted in a handful of Tamil movies in his career that spun for two decades. 

He began his career as a stage actor and started acting in the movies in 2001 at the age of 40. He had made his debut through the movie 'En Nadu Innale Vare' directed by I V Sasi and released in 2001. The movie gave him a big breakthrough and from there, there was no looking back. In two decades, he had acted in over 70 movies and in most of them, he had appeared in comedy roles. 

He also had appeared in many movies including Rajamanikyam and 2 Harihar Nagar. Some of his notable works include Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeevi Aanu, Oru Vadakkan Selfie, Life of Josutty, Kunjiramayanam, Welcome to Central Jail, Adi Kapyare Kootamani, and Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan. His brief role in Simbu starring 'Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya' directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon had introduced Pradeep to the Tamil audience. 

Some of the other Tamil movies that Pradeep acted in include 'Raja Rani', 'Nanbenda', 'Theri', and 'Konjam Konjam'. Pradeep has won the Best Supporting Actor for various roles at the 2nd Asianet Comedy Awards 2016. Pradeep was awaiting the release of his upcoming movie, which has become his last movie, 'Aaraattu' starring Mohanlal and helmed by B Unnikrishnan. He was survived by his wife and two children. 

In his tribute note, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in Malayalam, "Kottayam Pradeep was a special actor who kept even small characters bright in the minds of the entertainers through his unique style. Condolence to his family and loved ones." Mohanlal wrote, "Tributes to dear Kottayam Pradeep who gained a place in the hearts of Malayalees through remarkable characters." 

Actor Mammooty has also paid his tribute. Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran wrote, "Rest in Peace." Director John Mahendran wrote, "A very natural actor #PradeepKottayam from Malayalam movie industry passes away." Besides leaders and celebrities, hundreds of fans from across and beyond the borders have been expressing condolences to the departed actor.