An 81-year-old Marathi writer and producer Ratnakar Matkari, suffering from novel coronavirus, who was taking medical treatment, has passed away on Sunday night, May 17 at a private hospital in Mumbai.  The national-award-winning writer, who was considered a pioneer of the children’s drama movement in Marathi was reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Also Read - Coronavirus: Should Delhi Hospitals be Reserved For Residents Only? 40% For, 60% Against CM Arvind Kejriwal's Idea

In his condolence message, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “We have lost a precious gem from the world of literature. He wrote for children and for grown-ups as well. His immense contribution in various forms such as plays, short stories, novel has enriched the world of Marathi literature.” Also Read - Mohammed Shami Confident of Getting Reverse Swing Despite Saliva Ban in Cricket Due to COVID-19

According to latest reports by TOI, Ratnakar Matkari was admitted to Godrej Hospital four days ago and was later shifted to Seven Hills Hospital for treatment after his test report was positive. Also Read - Coronavirus: With 2,287 New Cases Maharashtra at 72,300; Gujarat Reaches 17,632 With 415 Fresh Cases

Matkari’s 98 works thus far include 33 plays, 8 collections of his one-act plays, 18 books of his short stories, 3 novels, a book of poems for children, and 14 plays and three collections of plays for children. Many of Matkari’s novels have been adapted for the stage such as Sate Lote, Jawai Majha Bhala, Brahmahatya, Ashwamedh to name a few.

In 2013, Matkari directed a Marathi film Investment featuring Tushar Dalvi, Supriya Vinod, Sulbha Deshpande, Sanjay Mone, Sandeep Pathak, Bhagyashri Pane, Praharsh Naik, Soham Kolvankar and Milind Phatak in leading roles.

May his soul rest in peace!