NEW DELHI — Muthuvel Karunanidhi, a scriptwriter-turned-politician in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has died after a prolonged illness. He was 94.

Kauvery Hospital said Karunanidhi died Tuesday after suffering multiple organ failure. Hundreds of supporters carrying his photograph had kept vigil at the hospital praying for his recovery. Many wept when they learned of his death.

Karunanidhi dominated the Tamil-language movie industry as a screenwriter beginning in the 1950s, and later the political scene for nearly five decades. He became the state's chief minister, the top elected official, in 1969 and held that position five times for a total of 19 years. He led the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that India and particularly Tamil Nadu would miss Karunanidhi immensely.