ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s legendary classical singer Mehdi Hassan, who captivated millions of music fans across South Asia, died on Wednesday after a long illness, his family said. He was 84.
Hassan, known as Shahenshah-e-Ghazal, or the king of classical singing among Urdu speakers across the world, died in a private hospital in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi.
His son Asif told reporters outside the hospital that his father had been suffering from multiple lung, chest and urinary tract conditions.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed his condolences, calling Mehdi Hassan “an icon who mesmerized music lovers” in Pakistan and the subcontinent for decades.
Indian singing legend Lata Mangeshkar told Pakistan’s private TV channel that his death was a “big loss”.
Mehdi Hassan received numerous awards and recognitions. These include the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz ; the Pride of Performance ; and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz. Besides Nigar Film and Graduate Awards from Pakistan‚ he was recipient of the Saigal Award in Jalandhar‚ India‚ in 1979 and the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu Award in Nepal in 1983.
Hassan was born to a family of musicians on July 18, 1927 in Indian Rajasthan, and later migrated to Pakistan after partition and independence in 1947.
Although he was involved in music since his childhood, he formally started his musical journey from Radio Pakistan in 1952 — a career that would span over 25,000 recordings including songs featured in movies as well as ghazals. — Agencies