Chellappan is survived by his wife, son and two daughters. Born in Siviyampalayam near Namakkal, Chellappan began his career as a mathematics teacher and later obtained a doctorate in Tamil.
He held various posts including as Director of Tamil Development and founder-director of World Tamil Research Centre.
His discourses on the Tamil epic Silapathikaram were very popular. He began these discourses at the age of 24 years and on hearing his speech, veteran Tamil scholar R P Sethupillai gave him prefix ‘Silamboli’ which would go on to stay with him.
He has written Silamboli, Silapathikara Sinthanaigal, Sanga Ilakiya Thaen and other books.
A recipient of the Pavendar Bharathidasan award of the Tamil Nadu government, his book Silamboliyarin Anindhuraigal won the best research book award for 2006 from the Tamil Development Department.
He was well-versed in Pathupattu, Ettuthogai, Manimekalai, Perunkadhai, Seerapuranam, Ravana Kavium, and lectured regularly on these topics.
Leaders of various political parties, including DMK chief MK Stalin, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss, condoled the death of Chellappan.