The condition of ailing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi has "declined" and keeping his vital organs functioning remains a "challenge", Kauvery Hospital said today, indicating the next 24 hours could be crucial. The 94-year-old five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister was being continuously monitored and treated with active medical support, a press release issued by the hospital said. "There has been a decline in the medical condition of DMK president and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. Maintaining his vital organ functions continues to remain a challenge considering his age related ailments," it said. "His response to the medical interventions over the next 24 hours will determine the prognosis," Executive Director of the Hospital Dr Aravindan Selvaraj said in the terse two-paragraph release. Soon after the news of a decline in Karunanidhi's condition spread, hundreds of his supporters gathered outside the hospital, including a large number of women, some failing to control their tears, others waving at the TV cameras, preparing for an overnight vigil at the facility in downtown Alwarpet. Karunanidhi was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on July 28 following a dip in blood pressure, which stabilised following medical intervention. The hospital had, however, said on July 31 that an extended stay could be necessary due to age-related overall decline in his general health, altered liver function and haematological parameters. A host of dignitaries and political leaders, including President Ram Nath Kovind Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi have visited the hospital over the last few days to inquire about the condition of the DMK veteran.