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Former TNA Leader R. Sampanthan passes away at 91

July 01, Colombo (LNW): Former leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and ex-Opposition Leader, R. Sampanthan, has died at the age of 91.

Reports indicate that Sampanthan passed away while receiving medical care at a private hospital in Colombo.

A prominent Tamil politician and significant member of Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), Sampanthan’s political journey spanned six decades, with his initial entry into the Sri Lankan parliament dating back to 1977.

Sampanthan was the serving MP for Trincomalee District and had been a member of five different parliaments since 1977.

A lawyer by profession, he led the Tamil National Alliance from 2001 onwards. He was continuously an MP from 2001 until his passing in 2024, having previously served from 1977 to 1983 and from 1997 to 2000.

He held the position of Leader of the Opposition from September 2015 to December 2018.

Earlier this year in April, Parliament granted the former TNA leader and Trincomalee District MP a three-month leave from sessions due to his medical treatment.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran expressed their condolences on ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) upon learning of his death.

“We announce with deep regret the passing of Hon. R Sampanthan, Leader of the TNA and MP for Trincomalee. Funeral arrangements will be notified later,” stated Sumanthiran via the TNA media unit.

“My deepest condolences on the passing of TNA Leader R. Sampanthan. He was an old friend and colleague, and we shared many days discussing various issues. His demise is a loss to Sri Lanka’s political fraternity, and may his family and friends overcome this sad loss,” posted the SLPP leader on ‘X’.

In addition, former army chief Fonseka said: “I express my deepest condolences. Hon. R. Sampanthan was a very senior politician. His loss will be greatly felt.”

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