Legendary Indian singer SP Balasubramanyam passes away

The winner of multiple awards over a 50-year career, the 74-year-old singer died of COVID-19-related complications.

Indian singer S P Balasubrahmanyam dies
Balasubrahmanyam sang more than 40,000 songs, a Guinness World Record, in 16 languages [File: STR/AFP]

Iconic Indian singer SP Balasubrahmanyam has died in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India after suffering a cardiorespiratory arrest, a statement released by the hospital that was treating him said.

Balasubrahmanyam, 74, died on Friday at Chennai’s MGM Healthcare hospital, after being admitted there on August 5 for severe pneumonia brought on by the novel coronavirus. The singer tested negative almost a month later on September 4, the hospital said.

However, Balasubrahmanyam’s condition deteriorated despite being on “maximal” life support measures, the press release added.

The singer won numerous awards over the span of his 50-year career. He sang more than 40,000 songs, a Guinness World Record, in 16 languages, including Tamil, Telegu and Hindi.

Tributes from across India poured in following Balasubrahmanyam’s death, many calling it a huge loss. Celebrities and fans alike took to social media to pay their respects.

“Saddened to hear the demise of such a legendary singer. Your voice will be an inspiration for the generations to come. Condolences to friends and family,” Indian cricketer Suresh Raina posted on Twitter.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, said in a statement: “Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam, popularly known as SPB, has been the refreshing notation of film music spanning more than five decades, enthralling the connoisseurs and common people alike through his multifaceted talent.”

Indian film actor Akshay Kumar mentioned a virtual concert he had hosted featuring Balasubrahmanyam in April during the COVID-19 lockdown in India.

“He seemed hale, hearty and his usual legendary self … life is truly unpredictable. My thoughts and prayers with his family,” Kumar posted on Twitter.


Balasubrahmanyam was a recipient of six national awards, including the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri, India’s third and fourth-highest civilian awards.

He is survived by his wife and two children. His son SPB Charan is a film producer and singer.

Balasubrahmanyam will be cremated on Saturday at his farmhouse, with state honours given by the Tamil Nadu government.

Source: Al Jazeera