Renowned Telangana folk singer and poet Gaddar died in Hyderabad on Sunday. He was 77.

Gaddar had been undergoing treatment for lung and urinary problems at a private hospital in Hyderabad. He also underwent a bypass surgery on August 3, according to PTI.

Born as Gummadi Vittal Rao to a Dalit family in Medak district, Gaddar adopted the one-word name by which he became popularly known, as a tribute to the Ghadar Party, which fought against British colonial rule in Punjab.

Gaddar spent most of his youth underground working for the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War in the 1980s, according to The Hindu.

He was also among the prominent voices in the Telangana statehood movement. His song ‘Podustunna Poddu Meeda Nadustunna Kaalama Poru Telanganama’ was hugely popular.

The popular singer was last seen in a Congress public meeting addressed by Rahul Gandhi at Khammam on July 2.

The Congress said that the party was deeply saddened by the news of the Gaddar’s demise.

“His significant contributions as an activist and balladeer towards the cause of Telangana will forever remain in our memories,” the party said in a tweet. “The void left by his absence is irreplaceable.”

Gandhi said that Gaddar’s love for the people of Telangana drove him to fight tirelessly for the marginalised. “May his legacy continue to inspire us all,” he said.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said that the state has lost a great people’s poet.

Rao said that Gaddar, who ignited consciousness of self-rule among the people of Telangana through his songs and dance, would always be remembered as one who fought for the people.

Several others on social media also paid tributes to Gaddar.