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M S Subbulakshmi passes away

December 12, 2004 00:45 IST
Last Updated: December 12, 2004 03:27 IST

M S Subbulakshmi

The doyen of Carnatic music M S Subbulakshmi died in Chennai on Saturday night of broncho pneumonia and cardiac irregularities, according to hospital and family sources. She was 88.

"The vocalist died peacefully in her sleep," Dr C V Krishnaswamy, who treated her at the St Isabel hospital, told PTI.

The musician was admitted to the hospital on December 2 following a bout of viral infection, which later developed into broncho pneumonia.

Her condition worsened on Friday night and she lapsed into a coma as she developed cardiac irregularities. The end came at 2345 IST.

She was also a chronic diabetic for nearly four decades.

Born as Kunjamma in the temple city of Madurai on September 16, 1916, Subbulakshmi made her debut as a singer at the age of eight and went on to perform in concerts, a domain traditionally reserved for males.

The vocalist immortalised many songs, including Vaishnava Janatho, a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi, Meera bhajans, Annamacharya kirthans and the like.

Invited to render a concert before the UN General Assembly in 1966, she kept the audience comprising many heads of state spellbound.

She had also acted in a few Tamil films in her youth. Her first movie Sevasadanam was released in 1938, followed by Shakunthalai, Savithri and Meera to mention a few.

A globetrotter, 'MS', as she was popularly known, was the first woman to be awarded the 'Sangita Kalanidhi' by the Madras Music Academy. She was honoured with the Magsaysay award in 1974.

She was conferred India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1996.

Her husband T Sadasivam, a Congress leader and a protégé India's last governor general Rajagopalachari, died in 1997.

Obit: M S Subbulakshmi: 'Nightingale' of Carnatic music

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