Bengaluru: Karnataka Minister Umesh Katti died due to cardiac arrest at a private hospital here on Tuesday night, official sources said.
The minister for food, civil supplies and consumer affairs and forest was 61-years-old. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.
According to sources, Katti collapsed in the bathroom of his Dollar's Colony residence here and was rushed to the hospital.
State revenue minister R Ashoka said according to doctors, Katti had no pulse when he was brought to the hospital.
He termed Katti's death a huge loss to the BJP and to the Belagavi district.
Expressing grief over the death of his cabinet colleague and a "close friend", Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the state has lost an experienced statesman, dynamic leader and a loyal public worker.
Several of Bommai's cabinet colleagues, including Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol, Health Minister K Sudhkar and several BJP leaders rushed to the hospital upon receiving the news.
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Siddaramaiah tweeted, "Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of food and civil supplies minister Umesh Katti. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace."
Born in Belladbagewadi in Hukkeri taluk of Belagavi district, Katti was eight-time MLA from Hukkeri assembly constituency. He entered politics following the demise of his father Vishwanath Katti in 1985.
Before joining the BJP in 2008, Katti was with the Janata Party, Janata Dal, JD(U) and JD(S). He had earlier served as a minister in the Cabinet headed by J H Patel, B S Yediyurappa, D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar.
Katti was often in news for his statements demanding statehood for the north Karnataka region and also openly expressing his chief ministerial ambitions.