President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid rich tributes to legendary cartoonist R K Laxman, who died in Pune, describing him as a genius who brought smiles with his wit and humour.
"In death of Laxman, India will miss the genius who made the common man into a national icon," the President said expressing his condolences.
"I feel personal loss because I was both an avid follower and subject of Laxman's cartoons," Mukherjee tweeted.
In his condolence message, the Prime Minister said, "India will miss you RK Laxman. We are grateful to you for adding the much needed humour in our lives & always bringing smiles on our faces."
"My condolences to the family & countless well-wishers of a legend whose demise leaves a major void in our lives. RIP RK Laxman," Modi tweeted.
Vice President Hamid Ansari said Laxman touched the lives of millions of our countrymen by his incisive humour and socially relevant messages expressed through his immensely popular cartoons.
In her message, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said Laxman's "Common Man", for more than one generation, represented India and served as the conscience keeper of the establishment.
"Laxman was an intellectual giant who will be missed for decades to come and will serve as an inspiration to many," she said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, "Laxman touched the lives of the common people in many ways and portrayed their problems and aspirations for over half a century."
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said, "Through his cartoons he held up a mirror to society - making us laugh at ourselves, while putting the concern of the common man at the forefront.
"One of the most incisive observers and commentators of post independence India, his loss will be mourned by the whole nation," he said.
Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao described the legendary cartoonist as the most powerful representative of the common man who articulated the viewpoints of "the silent millions".
Laxman was the "most effective commentator on issues of national and international importance to have dominated the news space for such a long time", Rao said in a statement here.
"(Laxman) understood the joys and sorrows of the common man and articulated the viewpoints of the silent millions of India for more than five decades through his eloquent cartoons," he said.
The governor also noted that Maharashtra was the "karma- bhoomi" of the late cartoonist and he was loved by the people of the state.
The state's chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, said on twitter.Com that he was saddened by the "demise of Creator of Common Man'". Laxman's art and wit would be truly missed, he said.
Describing Laxman as the man who took the art of the cartoonist to a new level, Fadnavis said the country has not only lost a master artist, but also a world-renowned journalist.
"Through R K Laxman's demise, we have lost an exceptionally intelligent person, who made famous the art of satirical cartoons the world over. He was a rare kind of man," Fadnavis said.
"He exhibited exceptional intelligence when he made cartoons of political leaders. He was able to accurately describe the political and social happenings through his cartoons. His 'Common Man' turned out to be the voice of the common man," he added.
His death has created a void not only in the field of satirical cartoons, but in Indian journalism, which can never be filled, the chief minister said.