Lata Mangeshkar, the legendary Indian singer with a prolific, groundbreaking catalogue and a voice recognised by a billion people in South Asia, has died at the age of 92.
The singer died of “multi-organ failure after more than 28 days of hospitalisation post COVID-19”, Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai, her doctor Pratit Samdani told reporters on Sunday.
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She was hospitalised on January 11 after contracting COVID-19.
India declared two days of national mourning with public broadcaster Doordarshan announcing that Mangeshkar will be given a state funeral and that the country’s flag will fly at half-staff.
Her last rites will be held at 6:30pm (13:00GMT) on Sunday.
Mangeshkar began her career in 1942 at the age of 13.
In a career spanning over seven decades, Mangeshkar sang more than 30,000 songs in 36 languages.
Mangeshkar’s popularity extended far beyond India. She was celebrated not only in neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh but also in some Western countries.
She was known for being soft-spoken and was always dressed in a saree, her hair in two schoolgirl-like braids.
She was awarded the “Bharat Ratna”, India’s highest civilian honor in 2001. The government of France conferred on her its highest civilian award, “Officier de la Legion d’Honneur”, in 2007.
Mangeshkar’s voice has rung out of television sets, on crackly airwaves and from movie theatres for most of independent India’s three-quarters of a century, making hers the defining voice of many generations and earning her the title of “the Nightingale of India” and the “Melody Queen”.
Condolence messages poured in immediately after her death was announced.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the news was “heartbreaking for me, as it is for millions the world over”
“In her songs, generations found expression of their inner-most emotions,” Kovind added.
“I am anguished beyond words,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet. “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 mesmerize people.”
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said: “She remained the most beloved voice of India for many decades. Her golden voice is immortal and will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans.”
Mangeshkar never married. She is survived by her four siblings, all accomplished singers and musicians.