Legendary Indian playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam passed away at a private hospital in the southern city of Chennai on Friday at the age of 74.
SPB, as he was fondly called, died of a cardio-respiratory arrest at 1:04pm (IST), the MGM Healthcare hospital announced in a medical bulletin.
The celebrated singer was under treatment at the hospital for nearly two months after contracting Covid.
He has crooned more than 40,000 songs in 16 languages in a career spanning over five decades,
"SPB belongs to everyone. He will live on in his songs," his son SP Charan told the media in Chennai.
As news of his death broke, tributes flooded the social media. "Devastated," Oscar winning singer-composer AR Rahman tweeted.
"Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Balasubrahmanyam ji. Just a few months back I’d interacted with him during a virtual concert in this lockdown... he seemed hale, hearty & his usual legendary self...life is truly unpredictable. My thoughts & prayers with his family," Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar tweeted.
Others who expressed condolences included Bollywood's nightingale Lata Mangeshkar, actress Hema Malini, and former Indian Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.
Born in 1946, SPB made his debut some 50 years ago as a playback singer in Tamil and Telugu cinemas but soon crossed over to Bollywood where he gained fame despite his marked southern accent. He was the singing voice for Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.
"I planned to be an engineer. Then music turned the course of my life. I realized not to plan and let things play out for me," he had said in an interview.
SPB was the recipient of two of India's top civilian honours – Padma Shri in 2001 and Padma Bhushan in 2011.
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