Ailing Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray died at 3-30 p.m. on Saturday at his residence. He was 86.
His death was announced in a brief statement by the doctors, who were treating him.
“He had suffered a cardiac arrest. In spite of our best efforts we could not revive him. He breathed his last at around 3-30 p.m,” said Dr Jalil Parkar, briefing media persons who had gathered outside the Matoshree bungalow of the Sena chief.
At the deathbed, Thackeray’s son Uddhav, who is also the Executive President of the Shiv Sena, and nephew Raj Thackeray, were present along with the top party men.
The funeral is to be held on Sunday afternoon.
At Matoshree in suburban Bandra, a huge crowd of party men gathered after hearing the news. There was palpable tension in the air.
Thousands of supporters from hinterland of Maharashtra are expected to reach the city by Sunday to express their grief.
Additional forces of the State Reserve Police and Rapid Action Force have been deployed to keep the crowds under control at Matoshree.
The State Government, anticipating violence, has already deployed thousands of police personnel at strategic locations across the city.
Thackeray was ill for the last few months, but on Wednesday evening his health deteriorated. He suffered respiratory distress and was placed on a life support system.
Young Shiv Sena leader Rahul Narvekar appealed for peace to his party men. Earlier, Uddhav had asked Shiv Sainiks to stay calm. “The name of Matoshree should not be damaged,” he had said in the appeal.
Thackeray had been unwell since July, when he was admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital for breathlessness and ailments of the digestive track.
He was discharged after a week in hospital, and was being given medical care at his Bandra residence. He has been under constant medical supervision, with a team of doctors and nurses stationed at his home.