S P Balasubrahmanyam: The iconic singer died on Friday. (courtesy: ispbofficial)
- S P Balasubrahmanyam was hospitalised in August
- He tested positive for coronavirus
- S P Charan was actively sharing updates on his father's health
Celebrated singer S P Balasubrahmanyam died in a Chennai hospital after almost two months of treatment. He was 74. Mr Balasubrahmanyam had been in hospital since August 5. The funeral will be held on Saturday morning before which a public homage will be allowed. Tributes to S P Balasubrahmanyam poured in on social media soon after Mr Balasubrahmanyam's son S P Charan announced his death. Eulogy posts were shared by two of Mr Balasubrahmanyam's most frequent collaborators - Kamal Haasan and A R Rahman. 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." Rahman wrote, "Devastated." Rajinikanth's daughter Soundarya was among the first to share a tribute, writing "RIP SPB sir."
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."
S P Balasubrahmanyam's son S P Charan has been sharing health updates about his father on social media and was optimistic these last few weeks. A day ago, he wrote on Instagram that S P Balasubrahmanyam was making "steady progress" and was undergoing physiotherapy. SPB was "eager to leave the hospital as early as possible," S P Charan wrote. Read his post here:
Some weeks ago, S P Charan announced in a video posted on Instagram: "We were expecting dad's lungs to improve as they were but unfortunately we are still not at that point where we could rid him of the ventilator. But the good news is that dad is COVID negative." SPB was watching cricket on the iPad as well as writing and communicating, his son said.
S P Balasubrahmanyam was taken to hospital on August 5 and shared a video saying he was "perfectly fine" and expected to be discharged in two days. On August 14, the hospital said in a medical bulletin that Mr Balasubrahmanyam's condition had deteriorated and that he had been put on life support. The statement from MGM Healthcare read: "In a late night development on 13th August 2020, his condition had deteriorated and based on the advice of the expert medical team attending to him, he has been moved to the intensive Care Unit and he is on life support and his condition remains critical." Just a day before, the hospital had said that S P Balasubrahmanyam had been admitted for "mild symptoms of COVID continues to be stable and is maintaining normal oxygen saturation."
In his video shared from when he was first taken to hospital, S P Balasubrahmanyam said: "Last two to three days, I have been having a little discomfort. Discomfort means little chest congestion, which for a singer is nonsense. Had cold and on and off fever. These three things, otherwise no problem. But I didn't want to take it easy, so I went to the hospital and checked. They said it was just a mild, very mild case of corona," he said adding that he could have self-isolated at home but opted to be hospitalised so it would be easier for his family. "Nobody has to worry about this one. So please don't bother to call me to find out how I am. I am perfectly alright except the cold and fever. Fever has also subsided."
S P Balasubrahmanyam, winner of six National Awards, leaves behind a vast body of work that spans 40,000 songs in 16 languages. He worked extensively for Ilaiyaraaja, A R Rahman and other composers. In the Hindi film industry, he sang for Salman Khan in several films. He was also an actor, producer and voice actor. SPB was a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan.