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Lata Mangeshkar, one of India’s greatest cultural icons and a singer who defined music and melody for generations of her countrymen, died on Sunday (February 6).

He was 92 years old and is survived by his four brothers. She was hospitalized on January 11 after becoming infected with what a doctor told Reuters was COVID-19.

Mangeshkar died on Sunday morning of “multi-organ failure after more than 28 days of post-COVID-19 hospitalization,” said Dr. Pratit Samdani, who was treating her at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital, according to ANI, a partner. from Reuters TV.

Mangeshkar’s voice has rang on televisions, on the airwaves and in cinemas for most of independent India’s three-quarters of a century, making her the defining voice of many generations and earning her the title of “the nightingale”.

“I am distraught beyond words,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.

He will receive a state funeral and the government will observe state mourning with the flag at half-staff until Monday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

“Kind and loving Lata Didi has left us,” the prime minister wrote, using a term of endearment for big sister.

“She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. Generations to come will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to captivate people.”

«VOICE A GIFT FROM GOD»

Born in 1929 in pre-independence India, Mangeshkar began singing in her teens and in a career that spanned 73 years she has sung more than 15,000 songs in 36 languages.

She captivated music-mad Indians with her melodious voice and wide variety, singing everything from patriotic songs to romantic numbers, both in movies and on albums.

The world of Bollywood, where movies were unthinkable without at least six songs and where everything from romance to grief was narrated with the help of a ballad, was where Mangeshkar cut his teeth and then made a name for himself.

Other Bollywood personalities and politicians offered their condolences.

“Love, respect and prayers,” Oscar and Grammy-winning Indian musician AR Rahman tweeted. Mangeshkar sang several of his award-winning songs.

The classically trained Mangeshkar shaped his voice to the demands of singing for Bollywood movies, even performing 60-year-old songs for a 20-year-old actress.

His songs motivated millions of Indians during the wars with China and Pakistan to pay tribute to the defense forces. Some of their songs are used as prayers in temples, shrines, and schools.

“My voice is a gift from God,” he once told an interviewer. “I learned to get emotional through my voice. When I sang a lullaby, I became a mother, when it was a romantic song, I was a lover.”

The only songs he refused to sing were cabaret numbers and songs that had lewd or bawdy lyrics, saying in later interviews that they did not fit with his personal values. However, Mangeshkar dominated the Hindi film industry for nearly five decades until the 2000s, along with his younger sister Asha Bhosle.

Mangeshkar’s detractors accused her of using her Bollywood influence to limit the entry of newcomers. Her influence was such that Mumbai authorities in 2006 scrapped a planned highway overpass after she objected that it would disturb her privacy.

Known for her soft voice and wearing a sari, her hair in two braids like a schoolgirl’s, Mangeshkar was awarded India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001. She was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, the Legion of Honor, in 2009.

“Music is incomplete without your voice,” actor Amitabh Bachchan said of Mangeshkar in 2019, marking his 90th birthday. “He has done the work of the saints.”


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