Legendary singer of India, Lata Mangeshkar, who enthralled the music lovers of South Asia nearly for seven decades, passed away at the age of 92.She had tested positive for Covid with mild symptoms and was admitted on January 8 to Breach Candy Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) where she was being treated by a team of doctors led by Dr Pratit Samdani.
Mangeshkar’s condition had improved in January and she was taken off the ventilator but her health deteriorated on Saturday. She died in Mumbai on Sunday morning due to multiple organ failure.
Her death has been described by prominent personalities including president of India Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi as “The end of an era”, “an artist born but once in centuries” and a “void that cannot be fulfilled.”
The President and the Prime Minister led the tributes for Mangeshkar who spent close to a month in the hospital before her demise.
“Lata-ji’s demise is heart-breaking for me, as it is for millions the world over. In her vast range of songs, rendering the essence and beauty of India, generations found expression of their inner-most emotions. A Bharat Ratna, Lata-ji’s accomplishments will remain incomparable,” President Kovind wrote on Twitter along with a photo with the veteran playback singer.
“An artist born but once in centuries, Lata-didi was an exceptional human being, full of warmth, as I found whenever I met her… My condolences to her family and admirers everywhere,” he said in another post.
Indian PM Modi also shared a photo with Mangeshkar and said the legendary singer’s demise leaves “a void that can’t be filled”.
“I am anguished beyond words. The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people,” he wrote.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who visited south Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital earlier in the morning, said that Mangeshkar was “the pride of our nation”.
“She took the country to greater heights, all over the world with her singing. Her voice was magical. Her loss is humungous, it’s a void for all of us. I visited the hospital and had her darshan. It’s the end of an era,” Gadkari told reporters.
From the film industry, actors Shabana Azmi, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and filmmaker Hansal Mehta paid tributes to the singer. Calling Mangeshkar India’s national treasure, Azmi said her voice lit up our lives, gave us solace when we were sad, gave strength when we were low”.
“‘Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hain, Gar Yaad Rahe’ And how can one forget such a voice! Deeply saddened by the passing away of Lata Mangeshkar ji, my sincere condolences and prayers,” Kumar tweeted.
Devgan wrote, “An icon forever. I will always savour the legacy of her songs. How fortunate were we to have grown up listening to Lataji’s songs. Om Shanti. My deepest condolences to the Mangeshkar family.”
“The heavens are blessed” to be in the company of the Nightingale of India,” said Mehta. “The nightingale moves on. The heavens are blessed. There will never be another Lataji. Om Shanti,” he tweeted.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said “one of the greatest Indian has left us” today.
“Thank you for the songs, the memories, the pride we felt because of you. #LataMangeshkar,” he tweeted.
Regarded as one of Indian cinema’s greatest playback singers, Mangeshkar started her career at the age of 13 in 1942 and has sung over 25,000 songs in various Indian languages.
In her over seven-decade career, she has sung a host of memorable tracks, including “Ajeeb dastan hai ye”, “Pyar kiya to darna kya” and “Neela asman so gaya”.
The singer — known as Melody Queen of India — was awarded with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, as well as the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
PM Narendra Modi and stars of the entertainment industry attended the funeral, where large crowds gathered to pay their respects.
Her extraordinary career spanned more than half a century and she recorded thousands of songs in 36 languages.
Two days of national mourning followed the funeral and the national flag was flown at half-mast throughout the country.
Crowds gathered outside her home, where her coffin began its journey to a city park where it was publicly cremated. PM Modi was among those who laid flowers on the pyre.