Mehdi Hassan hospitalised, condition critical, says son

New Delhi: Ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan has been admitted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Karachi after he had trouble in breathing, his son Arif Hassan said today.

The 84-year-old singer, the voice behind evergreen ghazals like `Ab ke bichade` and `Patta patta boota boota, has also stopped speaking.

Hassan, who has been suffering from lung problems for the past twelve years, was last night rushed to Karachi`s Agha Khan hospital`s ICU section. Doctors said Hassan is suffering from chest and urine infection.

"He had trouble in breathing last night. We immediately rushed him to the hospital. He is in ICU but there is no positive response from the doctors about his condition," Arif told reporters from Karachi.

"We have been feeding him through tube for the past two years and for the past one month, he has even lost his voice, which mesmerized millions of his fans," he added.

Arif said Hassan always wanted to visit India for treatment.

"He wanted to visit India, his birth country, and we were supposed to be there last year but his condition never improved. Now the doctors have strictly said no to any
journey," he said.

Singers Hariharan and Hansraj Hans besides Gulzar have inquired about Hassan`s health over phone, Arif said.

Facing a cash crunch for his treatment, the family of the legendary singer has appealed to the Pakistan government for some help.

"We have to pay Rs 45 lakh to the hospital. Government has publicly promised to bear all the expenses of his treatment and we are relying on them. I am hopeful that people will come forward to help," Arif said.

Hassan was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in India`s Rajasthan state in 1927. His family migrated to Pakistan during Partition.

Hassan, who has a huge following in the subcontinent, cut back on his performances in the late 80s due to illness.

He wanted to visit India in 2010 for treatment and wished to meet Lata Mangeshkar, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. The visit could not take place and his earlier planned visit in 2008 was also cancelled in wake of Mumbai terror attack.

The singer last performed in India in 2000.