Renowned Telangana folk singer and balladeer Gaddar, who was popularly known for his revolutionary songs during the 1980s and later during the Telangana statehood agitation, passed away on Sunday due to ill-health. He was 77.
Gaddar, whose real name is Gummadi Vittal Rao, died at Apollo Spectra Hospital in Hyderabad due to lung and urinary problems and advanced age, the hospital said in a statement. He was suffering from severe heart disease and got admitted on July 20. He underwent a bypass surgery on August 3 and recovered from it, the hospital said.
However, he has had a history of lung and urinary problems, which along with advanced age, became aggravated and led to his passing, it said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed grief over the demise of Gaddar. "Saddened to hear about the demise of Shri Gummadi Vittal Rao, Telangana's iconic poet, balladeer and fiery activist," Rahul Gandhi tweeted. "His (Gaddar) love for the people of Telangana drove him to fight tirelessly for the marginalised. May his legacy continue to inspire us all," he said.
Gaddar had attended a Congress public meeting addressed by Rahul Gandhi at Khammam in Telangana on July 2.
Union minister and Telangana BJP president G Kishan Reddy, TDP Chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and several other leaders condoled the demise of the singer.
Gaddar, who played a key role in spreading public awareness on various issues, gave an impetus to the Telangana statehood agitation with his songs, Kishan Reddy said.
A former naxalite, Gaddar had led an underground life, including in the forests. Subsequently, he had joined the mainstream and voted for the first time in his life in the Telangana legislative assembly polls in 2018.