A pioneering journalist and the chief editor of Malayalam newspaper ‘Janmabhumi’, Leela Menon died at the age of 86 in Kochi.
“She passed away at 8:30 pm today. For several months, she had not been keeping well and was undergoing medical treatment. For the last couple of months, she wasn’t able to recognise anyone,” said Joseph Alex, managing trustee of Signature Aged Care, where Menon had been living since January this year.
Leela Menon began her journalistic career with The Indian Express in New Delhi in 1978 at a time when a very few women journalists from Kerala showed the courage to enter the field. She led the way for many budding journalists. She worked with the paper in New Delhi, Kochi and Kottayam. After her long stint with Express from 1978 to 2000, she started writing columns for ‘The Hindu’, ‘Outlook’ and ‘Madhyamam’ before she joined ‘Janmabhumi’ as its chief editor.
Menon had a long struggle with cancer but was able to defeat the illness and fully recovered from it. In the last couple of years, she had been suffering from hypertension, breathlessness and diabetes.
Her autobiography, ‘Nilaykatha Symphony, published in Malayalam is seen as a brave memoir detailing all the major events in her life, from her childhood to marriage to journalism and finally her fight with cancer.