Founder of MDH Masala brand and a popular face in the country, Dharampal Gulati, died due to cardiac arrest on Thursday at age of 97.

“Mahashay” Dharmpal Gulati had been in hospital in Delhi for weeks. He died of a cardiac arrest early this morning, said reports.

Last year, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal poured tributes for the Masala King of India on twitter.

“Dharm Pal ji was very inspiring personality. He dedicated his life for society. God bless his soul,” Kejriwal tweeted.

His deputy Manish Sisodia also posted message on Twitter.

“India’s most inspiring entrepreneur, MDH owner Dharm Pal Mahashay passed away this morning. I have never met such an inspiring and lively soul. May his soul rest in peace,” tweeted Sisodia.

According to his biography on the MDH site, Dharampal Gulati set up a business in 1937 with help from his father and started selling mirrors, soap, hardware and rice.

When the business failed, he returned to work with his father for the company Mahashian Di Hatti.

He further moved to India after the Partition and arrived in Delhi with Rs 1,500 to his name.

He opened his first store in Karol Bagh in Delhi and expanded his business from there.