Ace wrestler, Asian Games gold medallist and former Rajya Sabha member Maruti Mane died Tuesday in a hospital in Sangli district following prolonged illness, hospital officials said.
The 73-year-old wrestler had won the Hind Kesari title in 1964.
Governor of Maharashtra K. Sankaranarayanan, condoling the demise of Mane, said: 'Hind Kesari Maruti Mane was the pride of Maharashtra. He was one of the greatest wrestlers who left his imprint at the international level. Even after retirement from the game, he continued to offer his guidance and advice to young and upcoming wrestlers and other sportspersons. Indeed Shri Mane was an institution in himself.'
Former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, condoling the death, said: 'It is a big loss to Maharashtra's wrestling fraternity. Mane's achievements are special considering the inadequate facilities available in those days.'
Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said: 'Maharashtra has lost a shining star in the field of wrestling. His contribution in exhorting youngsters to take up wrestling was immense.'
Educationist Patangrao Kadam said: 'It is a great loss. I was fortunate enough to meet him on Sunday. His social work can never be forgotten.'
Mane had won a gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta. He was also awarded the Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar and the Dhyanchand Award by the Maharashtra government and the Delhi government, respectively, in 2005.