A popular Indian academic died recently during a live TV show after suffering from a cardiac arrest at the age of 81. Rita Jitendra was a guest on the talk show “Good Morning J&K” when in the middle of saying something she fell back on the chair and started breathing heavily.

According to the Telegraph in India, Jitendra's mouth fell open and her eyes closed. Hosts of the show, including anchor Zahid Mukhtar, appeared in shock.

“She was telling us a few interesting things about her life and was looking absolutely normal,” Mukhtar reportedly said. “But suddenly she stopped talking and began having hiccups. We had to cut the interview [and switch to] a documentary to attend to her and take her to hospital.”

"When she collapsed, we thought she was acting... It took us a few moments to realise something was seriously wrong," he said. "We tried to revive her. Producers, our assistants, everyone tried to revive her. But she did not respond. She was rushed to a hospital where she was declared brought dead."

A doctor at the hospital where she was taken, Dr. Saleem Tak, said: "The cardiac arrest may have taken place due to heart arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart beating... We have completed the legal formalities and handed over the body to her family."

Jitendra, who had retired as secretary of a government organization called Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, had eerily discussed death shortly before appearing on the program.

According to reports, she told a male friend that she hoped to die like A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the former president of India who died while delivering a lecture in 2015.

“She told him that Dr. Kalam had died while working. That is how she met her end too. She breathed her last in the studio itself,” Jitendra's friend Hafiza Muzaffar said.

The producer of the program, Tanveer Mir, said Jitendra choked suddenly and collapsed.

"It's shocking for us as this is the first incident in the Doordarshan history when any guest died in a live program," Mir told Kashmir Reader. "As part of the TV profession, we managed to run the whole programme to keep the broadcast uninterrupted. But we are very saddened with this incident and we pray for the departed soul."

This is a representational image showing an ambulance in Mumbai, India. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui