M Karunanidhi (REUTERS/Babu/File photo)

Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa have joined several other political leaders who have expressed sorrow at the demise of M Karunanidhi, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, India.

Karunanidhi died on Tuesday (7). The 94-year-old was a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

“The death of M Karunanidhi, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and senior politician, deeply disturbed me,” Sirisena said in a tweet. “I express my deepest sympathy for everyone, including his family and supporters who have been saddened by the loss of Anna.”

Sri Lanka prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted he had spoken with MK Stalin over his father’s health.

Rajapaksa, meanwhile, praised Karunanidhi’s contribution to literature and cinema, writing: “His contributions to Tamil literature, cinema and politics are unparalleled. I join the millions of people who are mourning. My deepest condolences to the family and people of Tamil Nadu.”

Karunanidhi was a lifelong warrior for Sri Lankan Tamil cause, but he wasn’t seen in favourable light during the final days of the civil war in the island nation due to his perceived “inaction”.

He was called a betrayer to the cause because he could not save the life of LTTE leader Prabhakaran or his followers during the final assault in 2009.

While paying tributes to Karunanidhi, CV Wigneswaran, the chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern Province, praised the leader for his several protests for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.