Veteran Malayalam lyricist and poet B Sivasankaran Nair, known among fans as Bichu Thirumala, passed away on Friday, November 26, in Thiruvananthapuram. He was 80. Thirumala was admitted to the hospital after he began experiencing breathing problems and suffered a heart attack. He had been put on ventilator support after his health began to deteriorate, and died on the wee hours of Friday, around 3.15 a.m. Thirumala is survived by his wife Prasanna Kumari and son Suman Bichu, a music director in Malayalam cinema. 

Born in 1942, Thirumala had gone on to become one of the most celebrated lyricists in the Malayalam film industry. He made his debut in songwriting in the 1972 film Bhaja Govindam and has penned lyrics for over 5,000 songs. A two-time Kerala State Film Award winner, the Malayalm cinema icon had collaborated with many notable cinema stalwarts like V Dakshinamurthy, MS Baburaj, K Raghavan, Ouseppachan, including Tamil film industry musical legends 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja and A. R. Rahman. Thirumala had first won the Kerala State Film Award for the 1981 films Thrishna and Thenum Vayabum and once again in 1991 for his work in Kadinjool Kalyanam. 

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his condolences over the legendary lyricist-poet's demise and recalled him in making film songs popular among the masses. Chief Minister Pinarayi stated, "He was close to the listener's heart, as he stood out in his lyrics and music. Many notable songs in Malayalam were written by him." The news of Bichu Thirumala's death has left many fans in Kerala in a state of grief, who have been paying their tributes on social media. Malayalam cinema stars Mohanlal, Mammootty, Lal, Manju Warrier, Manoj K Jayan, director Lal Jose and many others paid their respects to the iconic Malayalam lyricist-poet.