Indians woke up on Sunday, a weekend holiday, to a shocking news that legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar died, as heartfelt tributes began pouring in for the 'Queen of Melody'.
Lata, who had been hospitalised with Covid and pneumonia since the middle of January, passed away at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai city around 8am at the age of 92.
With over 30,000 songs to her name in 36 Indian and foreign languages since the 1940s, Lata made it to the coveted Guinness Book of World Records as the globe's most recorded artiste.
From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and opposition politician Rahul Gandhi to Bollywood celebrities like Hema Malini and cricket icon Virat Kohli, all took to social media to pay tributes as the government announced two days of national mourning.
PM Modi was among the first ones to share the tragic news with the nation on Twitter, saying that "beyond films, she was always passionate about India's growth".
"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.
"Dhe closely witnessed the transitions of the Indian film world for decades. Beyond films, she was always passionate about India's growth. She always wanted to see a strong and developed India," he tweeted.
India's main opposition Congress leader Gandhi tweeted, "Her golden voice is immortal and will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans. My condolences to her family, friends and fans."
Bollywood actress Hema Malini said she was "deeply shocked" as with Lata's death, 'an era in Bollywood has ended". Lata was, in fact, the singing voice of many leading actresses of yesteryears -- Hema Malini being the most prominent among them.
Former Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli also tweeted his condolences. "Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Lata ji. Her melodious songs touched millions of people around the world. Thank you for all the music and the memories," he wrote.
Lata was born in the city of Indore in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on 28th September 1929. She began her music training under her father Deenanath, a theatre personality.
Officially she began her singing career at the age of 13, when the family relocated to Mumbai after her father's demise in 1942. Seven years later, Lata hogged limelight for her first major hit song 'Aayega Aanewaala' in a Bollywood movie.
From 1960s to 2000s, she dominated Bollywood. In 1974, Lata became the first Indian singer to perform at Royal Albert Hall in the British capital.
In 1989, Lata was given Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest recognition in the field of cinema. In 2001, Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, was bestowed on her by the Indian government.
Lata's sister Asha Bhosle is also a singing legend. But Lata had cleared said in an interview that they never competed with each other. "We're very close," she had said.