NEW DELHI: Celebrities, fans and political leaders paid glowing tribute to S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, a playback legend of the entertainment industry in India.
His passing away at the age of 74 on Friday was described as the end of an era.
Born as Sripathi Panditharadhyula Balasubrahmanyam and known popularly as SPB or Balu, he recorded more than 40,000 songs in 16 languages during a career spanning five decades.
He sang for film stars representing different generations such as M.G. Ramachandran, Shivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan and Salman Khan, and he was also an actor.
“You have been my voice for many years. Your voice and your memories will live with me forever,“ Tamil movie star Rajinikanth said in a tribute.
Salman Khan said he was “heartbroken” to hear about Balasubrahmanyam’s death.
India’s “cultural world is a lot poorer”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the singer’s passing away at a hospital in Chennai city.
“He was not just a singer. He was a performer. It felt as if he was born to entertain the world with his expressions and his music. A great loss for our industry,“ actress Hansika wrote in a tweet.
The playback singer and music composer was diagnosed with Covid-19 in August.
He tested negative for the coronavirus this month but remained under intensive medical care.
Balasubrahmanyam’s condition deteriorated and he passed away at 1.04 pm, MGM Healthcare, the hospital treating him, said in a statement.
Balasubrahmanyam was born in 1946 in Nellore in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
“I have had immense admiration for him as I heard his rapturous melodies, his passionate love for his mother tongue, and the extraordinary manner in which he groomed a whole generation of talented, young musicians,“ Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said in a statement.
“His songs touched millions of hearts in many languages. His voice will live on,“ Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said. -Bernama