Political leaders on Thursday mourned the death of Dara Singh, calling him the most-loved wrestler and actor who has been an inspiration to many generations in the country.
Singh (83) breathed his last at his residence in Mumbai on July 12.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he rose to the heights of the entertainment world, sports arena and public life with humility and grace.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Dara Singh, who has been an inspiration and icon to many generations in our country... his contribution to the Hindi and Punjabi cinema, wrestling and the Upper House of the Parliament will be remembered by millions," he said.
"I wish to send my deepest condolences to the family of Dara Singh and to his countless admirers in India and abroad," he said.
BJP Parliamentary Party Chief L K Advani said he and his party are deeply saddened by the demise of Singh. "The country has lost one of its gems. The void caused by the death of Dara Singh, who was a kind-hearted soul, cannot be filled."
Advani praised Singh for his dedication to work and said he has left an indelible mark in the field of acting and wrestling.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj also expressed her grief, saying, "He distinguished himself not only as a sportsperson but also as an actor and an MP. He was a legend in his life time. Yet he was very simple and humble. May his soul rest in peace."
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described the 'Rustam-e-Hind' as a multifaceted personality who earned fame in the national and international arena of wrestling.
"His memorable role of Hanuman in the television serial 'Ramayana' would be ever remembered by one and all. In the death of Dara Singh, a void has been created in the Indian film industry which is difficult to be filled," Badal said.
Badal said that Singh was a fine human being with rare qualities of head and heart, recalling his outstanding contribution in making Punjabi Cinema popular among the masses.
Punjab's deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also condoled the passing away of Singh, describing him as a "versatile actor and superb wrestler of his times" who ruled the hearts of people across the country.
"Dara Singh was a trend setter in making Punjabi cinema popular amongst cinemagoers. In his death India has lost a jewel and even Punjab is bereft of its illustrious son."
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot remembered Singh as a great name in wrestling.
"Singh was a great name in the wrestling and he also contributed to the field of social service," Gehlot said.
Praying for the departed soul, Gehlot said that Singh would always be remembered.
Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan expressed grief over the demise of Singh, saying the veteran wrestler and actor made Hanuman a lovable character.
"Dara Singh was India's most loved wrestler and there was a time when he had become a household name among the lovers of wrestling," the Governor said.
Singh's transition from the real life to reel world was very smooth and n no time he caught the imagination of film goers with his portrayal of character roles, he said.
"He will continue to live in the hearts of the people for many more years," he added.
"In his death, we have lost a great human being... I convey my condolences to the members of his family," he said.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said, "Dara Singh will always be remembered for his wrestling style."
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also expressed his profound grief over the demise of Singh.
"He was a fine human being, a versatile actor and a great wrestler. The void created with his death will be difficult to fill," Hooda said.
JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav praised his skills both on the silver screen and wrestling ring.
"Dara Singh was a great name in Indian wrestling. He belonged to the golden era of Indian wrestling and it was a joy to watch him in the ring. I salute him on behalf of my party," he said.
Applauding his acting skills, Yadav said Singh was very down-to-earth even after becoming a popular actor.
"He was a very balanced personality. Just like other great actors such as Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini he was very down-to-earth," he said.