S. P. Bala, legendary Indian singer, dead at 74

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam

NEW DELHI — Legendary Indian singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, who mesmerized his fans with his melodious voice, has passed away. He was 74 years old.

He was admitted to a Chennai hospital with coronavirus symptoms on Aug. 5 and was later shifted to the intensive care unit after his deteriorated.

“With profound grief, we regret to inform that S P Balasubrahmanyam had passed away on Sept. 25 at 13:04 hours. We express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, well-wishers, and admirers,” MGM Healthcare, the hospital, said in a tweet.

Balasubrahmanyam worked across Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, and Malayalam film industries and lent his mellifluous voice to some 40,000 songs

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam, usually referred to as SPB, was born in Nellore in 1946.

He displayed an early aptitude toward music and won singing competitions while he was at school and university.

He studied to be an engineer but eventually gave that up to pursue singing full time.

Balasubrahmanyam made his film debut with 1966's “Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna”, in which he sang a song in the Telugu language.

He worked in the Bollywood Hindi-language mainstream and across India's thriving regional cinema scene and would go on to sing in all the major languages including Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, English, and Malayalam.

He won the singer prize at India's National Film Awards six times and got some of India's highest civilian awards, including the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2011.

Balasubrahmanyam is survived by his wife, Savitri; daughter Pallavi and son Charan.

Mourning his death, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, saying: “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.” — Agencies