Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar no more

Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar no more Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away in San Diego on Tuesday. He was 92. The musician was admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla last Thursday after he complained of breathing difficulties.

He breathed his last at 4.30 p.m. Pacific time.

According to an official statement issued by The Ravi Shankar Foundation, the meastro
"suffered from upper-respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last Thursday. Though the surgery was successful, recovery proved too difficult for the 92-year-old musician."

"It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today," his wife and daughter, Sukanya and Anoushka Shankar, said in a joint statement.

As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life.

"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away," the joint statement said.

"We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music," they said in their joint statement.

The sitar exponent, perhaps could be called India`s musical ambassador and was responsible for making Indian classical music popular in the West. He had collaborated with several international artists including George Harrison of ‘The Beatles’ which had garnered him fame and adulation all over the world.

Last week, the maestro had wished to speak to superstar Amitabh Bachchan. The actor on his blog had written, " Strangely, and for the first time, I had a call from the house of the great sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. His wife Sukanya ji wanted to talk to me to get me to talk to Ravi Shankar ji, because he had expressed a desire to speak with me. He has been unwell she informed me and was going in for a surgery on Thursday. They are in California, USA."

"This has been a most unusual occurrence. We all know Pt Ravi Shankar, who doesn`t? But I must admit that even though we have met on a few occasions, his association with my Father, our association with his elder brother the great dance exponent Uday Shankar, my own association with his son and daughter in law, and with Uday Shankar ji`s actress daughter... This has been the first time ever, when such a request was made to me," the actor had written.

Panditji is survived by his wife Sukanya and musician daughters, sitar player Anushka Shankar, singer Norah Jones, 3 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

(With Agency Inputs)