Veteran actor Captain Raju, who gave a new dimension to portrayal of villain roles in Malalyalam movies, died here Monday after prolonged illness, his family and film industry sources said. A former army officer, Raju, 68, is survived by his wife and a son. Also known for his character roles, the actor had featured in over 500 films, including in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, in his nearly four-decade long career. He was best known for his performances in superstar Mohanlal-starrer 'Nadodikkattu', 'Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha' and 'CID Moosa'. He had been undergoing treatment after suffering a stroke during a flight to the US two months ago, the sources said. After brief hospitalisation in Oman, he was brought here in July and continued treatment at a private hospital. Raju was later discharged from the hospital and there was no considerable improvement in his health. His end came this morning due to a cardiac arrest, the actor's relatives said. He began his film career in 1981 with 'Raktham' after quitting the Army. Malayalam film industry paid rich tribute to Raju, who had also essayed comedy roles in some films. Raju's demise is a loss for cinema, Malayalam movie stars Mammootty and Mohanlal said. Mammootty said Raju's acting skill and well-built physique made him famous. Recalling his friendship with Raju, Mohanlal said his demise was a personal loss for him.