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Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay dies of a heart attack

  Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay dies of a heart attack

One of India's most eminent writers and a stalwart of Bengali literature, Sunil Gangopadhyay, died of a heart attack in the early hours of Tuesday at his residence in Kolkata. He was 78.

Gangopadhyay, who was the President of the Sahitya Akademi, had a fall on the night of October 22 at his residence and hurt his shoulder. He passed away at 2:05 AM. Gangopadhyay's body was taken to the funeral parlour 'Peace Haven' from the hospital where it will preserved till his cremation on Wednesday, according to a report on the Bengali news channel ABP Ananda.

Born on September 7, 1934, in Faridpur district of present day Bangladesh, the prolific poet and novelist was a connoisseur of Bengali literature. The author of short stories, novels, plays, critical commentary, travelogues and children's literature had always maintained that poetry was his first love. His Nikhilesh and Neera series of poems are hugely popular.

Gangopadhyay, who used the pen-names 'Nil Lohit', 'Sanatan Pathak', and 'Nil Upadhyay' won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985 for his extensively researched novel 'Sei Samay'. His notable and best-selling works also include 'Pratham Alo' and 'Purbo-Paschim'.

He was the winner of the Bankim Puraskar in 1982 and the Ananda Puraskar twice - in 1972 and 1989. Reacting to the news of his death, veteran Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty said he has "lost his younger brother."

"I know Sunil since he was 15. He was like a young sapling then. Bengal not only lost a great author, but I have lost my younger brother," Chakraborty told the news channel.

His novels 'Pratidwandi' and 'Aranyer Din Raatri' were adapted into feature films by legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray.