Thousands of supporters have gathered at Apollo Hospital in Tamil Nadu's capital, Chennai, the BBC reports, following news of her cardiac arrest and incorrect reports of her death, which caused scuffles outside the hospital. The 68-year-old was hospitalized on Sept. 22 for an acute lung infection.
Apollo Hospital said in a statement that Jayalalithaa is on life support systems and is being treated by "a team of experts, including cardiologists, pulmonologist and critical care specialists," BBC reports.
Speaking to Indian channel NDTV, Richard Beale, who is part of the Jayalalithaa medical team, called the situation "grave" and said "everything possible is being done to give her the best chance of surviving."
Police are now on alert across the southwestern state over concerns that any further deterioration of her health could spark unrest. Jayalalithaa is widely revered in the state and has been nominated to the post of chief minister of Tamil Nadu four times.