New Delhi, April 08: Versatile Hindustani musician Sharan Rani, popularly known as 'Sarod Rani', passed away here this morning, a day before her 80th birthday.
Rani, the first woman to take up Sarod, breathed her last at her residence at around 8 am After battling cancer for some time, family sources said.
A disciple of great music maestros Ustad Allaudin Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, she belongs to the Maihar Senia Gharana and was hailed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the "Cultural Ambassador of India".
Rani, a Padma Bhushan Awardee who created new ragas, was the first musician to travel abroad and record with major music companies in the United States and Britain.
The author of "The Divine Sarod: Its Origin, Antiquity and Development in India since BC 2nd century", she was an avid collector of rare instruments and set up Sharan Rani Backliwal gallery, displaying nearly 450 classical instruments.
She was awarded the title 'National Artist' by the government for her lifetime achievements and also conferred awards by Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi government's Sahitya Kala Parishad award and Rajiv Gandhi National Excellence Award among others.
A set of four postage stamps, featuring four instruments from her gallery were also released in 1998.