Malayalam filmmaker KR Mohanan died at the age of 69 in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, PTI reported. Officials said the director died at a private hospital where he was undergoing a month-long treatment for an illness. Mohanan is best known for his films Ashwathama, Purushartham and Swaroopam.

The last rites will be conducted in Thrissur later on Monday.

The filmmaker was instrumental in setting up the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-backed Kairali TV and headed the channel’s programming during its early years, IANS reported. Mohanan had also served as the chairperson of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.

A product of the Film and Television Institute of India, Mohanan was also a key player in the Malayalam parallel cinema movement.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the filmmaker had contributed immensely to the Malayalam film industry. Minister for Culture A K Balan said that Mohanan’s demise has left a huge vacuum in Kerala’s film and cultural scene. “He was very clear about his notion of movies,” Kerala State Chalachitra Academy Chairperson Bina Paul told The Times of India. “We learnt so much from his guidance in the conduct of film festivals.”