Legendary veteran singer SP Balasubrahmanyam passes away at 74 in Chennai

S P Balasubrahmanyam, the legendary singer, fondly called SPB passed away in a Chennai hospital, where he had been admitted since August 5.
His condition had worsened in the last 24 hours and he was on maximum life support before the hospital he was at, MGM Healthcare Chennai, sadly confirmed that he had passed away in an official tweet. 

An actor, producer and voice actor, SPB was a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan and holds the Guinness World Record for being the only singer who recorded 40,000 songs. 

But more than that he is held close to the heart by millions of fans and listeners of his melodious voice across India. 

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted: "In the passing of music legend SP Balasubrahmanyam Indian music has lost one of its most melodious voices. Called 'Paadum Nila' or 'Singing Moon' by his countless fans, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan and many National Awards. Condolences to his family, friends and admirers." 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “With the unfortunate demise of Shri SP Balasubrahmanyam, our cultural world is a lot poorer. A household name across India, his melodious voice and music enthralled audiences for decades. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with his family and admirers. Om Shanti.” 

Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the passing away of legendary musician and playback singer Padma Bhushan, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam ji. He will forever remain in our memories through his melodious voice & unparalleled music compositions. My condolences are with his family & followers. Om Shanti”. 

SPB has six National Awards to his name and 40,000 songs in 16 languages to his credit.  Ilaiyaraaja and A R Rahman were among the composers he sang a lot of songs for especially in Tamil. 

AR Rahman wrote, "Devastated." The Voice  of Victory,Love,Devotion and Joy! 

Superhero Rajinikanth shared a video on social media along with the message, "#RIP Balu sir ... you have been my voice for many years ... your voice and your memories will live with me forever ... I will truly miss you ..." 

Superstar Kamal Haasan, who visited the hospital on Thursday evening, tweeted in Tamil: "It's my good fortune that I was the shadow image of SPB's voice for a long time. His fame will live for 7 generations." 

In the Hindi film industry, SPB lent his voice primarily to Bollywood actor Salman Khan with the songs becoming super hits in several films. "Heartbroken," tweeted Salman Khan. 

Earlier on Thursday when the hospital's medical bulletin had revealed that SPB was on maximum life support, Salman Khan had wished him speedy recovery in a tweet and thanked him, “for every song you sang for me and made special." 

He had signed off his tweet as Prem - his character from Maine Pyar Kiya whose song Dil Dewana by SPB was a hit. 

A public homage will be allowed before the funeral which will be held on Saturday morning SPB official Instagram account shared. 

S P Balasubrahmanyam's son S P Charan has been sharing his father’s health updates on social media, especially after fake news and rumours started making its rounds. He shared the news of his dad’s demise on Instagram. 

Earlier SPB had released a thanksgiving video to all COVID-19 warriors. 

Kerala’s Governor as well as Chief Minister expressed their condolences. “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Musician S. P. Balasubrahmanyam. SPB was an inimitable talent who transcended boundaries and genres with his music. His demise is a great loss to our cultural life. Our deepest sympathies to the bereaved family”: tweeted CM Pinari Vijayan. 

Singer Hariharan tweeted: “It is so tragic, the most unfortunate happening. SPB sir was a humble & helpful human being. He was one of the most phenomenal singers of our county. He ruled the music industry, to me he was an elder brother. He was an inspiration, so loving to me. Anna, I will miss you. RIP” 

Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogale tweeted: “Listening now to Sankara nada sareera......When I was in college in Hyderabad, it became the song (among others on a great album) that defined #SPBalasubramaniam JV Somayajulu & SPB & KV Mahadevan & Sankarabharanam....what a combination!” 

Telugu film industry fraternity as well as fans grieved the passing of SPB who has several Telugu songs to his credit including the evergreen ‘Shankarabharanam’ referred to by Harsha Bhogale above. 

CM of West Bengal, Mamta Banerjee tweeted: “Grieved to hear of the passing of a true legend of music, SP Balasubrahmanyam. His  golden voice will be remembered for generations. Condolences to his family, many admirers and colleagues in the music industry.” 

Bollywood actor Akshya Kumar tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Balasubrahmanyam ji.Just a few months back I’d interacted with him during a virtual concert in this lockdown..he seemed hale,hearty & his usual legendary self...life is truly unpredictable. My thoughts & prayers with his family”. 

#RIPSPB continues to trend across the nation and the globe with fans and followers expressing their grief over different social media platforms. 

Lakshmy Iyer
Lakshmy Iyer – Senior Correspondent, ASEAN & Entertainment

Lakshmy has been contributing regularly as a freelance writer since 2012. Her writing has been an amalgamation of the language, literature and rich cultural experiences of India as well as South East Asia. An Instructional Designer by profession she is passionate about lifelong learning. Art is her medium of reflection. She participates in art exhibitions thus contributing to the local art scene and using this platform, supports social causes in Singapore as well.


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