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Ustad Bismillah Khan dead
August 21, 2006 08:33 IST
Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan died of cardiac arrest in the wee hours of Monday morning.
The 91-year-old Bharat Ratna awardee, who had been admitted to Heritage hospital on August 17 with age-related health problems, passed away at 2.20 am.
"His condition suddenly deteriorated and he suffered a cardiac arrest at 1.45 am. Although Khan was put on the life support system, doctors could not revive him. He was declared dead at 2.20 am on Monday," hospital superintendent P S R Aiyer said.
Khan's condition had marginally improved on Sunday with his vital parameters like pulse, respiration rate and blood pressure at normal levels, doctors attending on him had said. He had even been given solid food after he expressed a desire to eat home-cooked halwa.
The shehnai maestro is survived by his five sons and three daughters.
Khan was born on March 21, 1916 into a family of court musicians and later trained under his uncle, the late Ali Bux 'Vilayatu', a shehnai player at Varanasi's Vishwanath temple.
During his long and fruitful career as an artiste, Khan enthralled audiences at performances across the globe. He was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, the Tansen award as well as the Padma Vibhushan.
In 2001, Khan became the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
Despite his fame, Khan's lifestyle retained its old world charm and he continued to use the cycle rickshaw as his chief mode of transport till his death.