Actor Puneeth Rajkumar who passed away on Friday, October 29, followed in the footsteps of his late father Dr Rajkumar as his eyes were donated. The 46-year-old, often referred to as 'Power Star,' suffered a heart attack on Friday morning while he was working out at the gym on October 29. He was at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Vikram Hospital.
Dr Rajkumar had also pledged his eyes in Bengaluru during the inauguration of the Narayana Nethralaya in 1994. After his death in 2006, his wishes were fulfilled. He had inspired many to follow him and pledge their eyes to the bank after their deaths. In March this year, another of Rajkumar's sons, Dr Shiva Rajkumar had also pledged to do the same. As per the eye bank's website, "the legendary Kannada actor Dr Rajkumar believed that sight is precious and that there is no point burying or burning healthy eyes that can be used to help someone else."
Speaking to Rediff in 2006, Dr K Bhujang Shetty, who had removed Dr Rajkumar's eyes had said, "The family was traumatised and grieving at the sudden death. But they remembered his promise and called me. If they would have delayed that call, I would not have been able to get the eyes out in time, though there is a six-hour window to get the eyes after death."
Earlier on Friday, a massive crowd gathered outside Vikram hospital where Puneeth had been admitted, with fans anxiously waiting for an update about the actorâ€™s health and praying for him to get better. Police were also deployed around the Kannada actorâ€™s residence in Sadashiva Nagar area of Bengaluru. The roads from Bengaluruâ€™s Cunningham road leading up to the actorâ€™s residence in Sadashiva Nagar area were cordoned off, with the police putting up barricades to block the roads. Several educational institutions also declared a holiday and sent their students home.
Puneeth had acted in the lead role in over 30 films over two decades and condolences poured in from across the country after his death. He is survived by his wife and two children.