He had been battling with death for last one week in a private hospital where he had been admitted on December 10. His son K Muraleedharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal were present at the hospital at the time of death. His wife Kalyanikutti had predeceased. Cremation would be held in Thrissur on Saturday.
Karunakaran, who has an unparalleled role in the history in Kerala, was one of the few leaders who had shaped and influenced the states politics for last half a century. As the leader of the Congress legislative party for 29 years in different terms, Karunakaran had been the most vibrant face of the party in Kerala. He had been credited with weathering the Communist storm over the decades since independence.
The four-time chief minister and three-time opposition leader, Karunakaran played the role of king maker while installing PV Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. One of the early pioneers in coalition politics in the country, Karunakaran demonstrated his maneuverability in installing Rao as the PM. Elected to the Rajya Sabha three times and to the Lok Sabha twice, Karunakaran had been the union industries minister for a year in 1995.