Asia

Tamil Nadu leader Jayalalitha suffers heart attack

The popular leader of India's southern Tamil Nadu state was in critical condition Monday morning after suffering a heart attack, the hospital said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha was being monitored by "a team of experts, including cardiologists, pulmonologist and critical care specialists," according to a statement from Dr. Subbaiah Viswanathan at Apollo Hospitals in the state capital of Chennai.

The 68-year-old actress-turned-politician suffered the heart attack Sunday night after being hospitalized two months ago with a fever, dehydration and a respiratory infection.

Government officials have rushed to the hospital in Chennai. Police were on guard as thousands of Jayalalitha's followers gathered outside.

Affectionally called "Amma" or "mother" by her supporters, Jayalalitha joined politics in the early 1980s after a successful film career that included appearances in nearly 150 movies. She has had three stints as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, the latest of which began in May 2011.