Top national leaders of the country Thursday condoled the passing away of wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh, describing him as an icon and a champion.
Dara Singh, a former Rajya Sabha member, died at his residence in Mumbai following a brief illness. He was 84.
In his condolence message, the prime minister said: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Shri Dara Singh, who has been an inspiration and icon to many generations in our country."
"A self-educated son-of-the-soil, he rose to the heights of the entertainment world, sports arena and public life with humility and grace. His contribution to the Hindi and Punjabi cinema, wrestling and the Upper House of the Parliament will be remembered by millions."
Vice President M. Hamid Ansari said he was "deeply grieved" by the sad demise of the former MP, wrestling champ and actor.
"His acting career was most memorable for the intensity and diversity of characters that he had portrayed. His role as a nominated MP is remembered by one and all," he added.
Ansari said he and his wife send their heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and the wide circle of his friends and admirers.
"We pray to the Almighty to grant them the strength and fortitude to withstand this tragedy."