Prominent media baron Cherukuri Ramoji Rao, chairman of Ramoji Group and Padma Vibhushan awardee, passed away after prolonged illness in the early hours of Saturday, his family members said.

Cherukuri Ramoji Rao(X/ @kishanreddybjp)

He was 87. He is survived by his wife Rama Devi and son Ch Kiran, who is heading the Eenadu group of publications and ETV channels. His younger son, Cherukuri Suman, died of leukemia on September 7, 2012.

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Rao had been suffering from chronic illness and age-related health complications for a long time. He was admitted to Star Hospitals of Nanakramguda in Hyderabad on June 5 afternoon due to respiratory issues and high blood pressure.

“He was being treated with ventilator support and was in a critical condition. He breathed his last at Star Hospitals at Nanakramguda at around 4.50 am. His body is being taken to his residence in the Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad in a while,” a family member said.

Born on November 16, 1936, Ramoji Rao established a massive business empire, including Margadarsi Chit Funds, Eenadu Telugu daily, ETV network of television channels, film production company Usha Kiran Movies and the world’s largest film production facility – Ramoji Film City (RFC).

He also owns Dolphin group of hotels, Kalanjali Saree Showrooms, Priya Foods and Mayuri Film Distributors.

Rao’s films under the Usha Kiran Movies banner won several state and national awards. In 2016, he was honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country for his contributions in journalism, literature and education.

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