Legendary sitar maestro and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, who popularised Indian classical music in the West and had a major influence on icons like The Beatles’ George Harrison and Yehudi Menuhin, died here on Tuesday at the age of 92.
Shankar, whose health had been fragile for the past several years, underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last Thursday at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California where he breathed his last.
The music icon was admitted to the hospital last week when he complained of breathlessness.
“It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today,” his wife and daughter, Sukanya and Anoushka Shankar, said in a joint statement.
A recipient of Bharat Ratna in 1999, Shankar maintained residences in both India and the U S. He is survived by his wife Sukanya, daughter Norah Jones, daughter Anoushka Shankar Wright and husband Joe Wright, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
“As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away,” the family said.
A three-time Grammy award winner, Shankar last performed in California on November 4 along with Anoushka. The first of the Grammy awards came in 1967 for his collaborative album with Menuhin, ‘West Meets East’.
Shankar has also been nominated for the 2013 Grammys for his album “The Living Room Sessions Part-1”. Anoushka has also been nominated in the same category.
In recent months, performing and, especially touring, became increasingly difficult for the musician. A Bengali Brahmin, Shankar was born Robindra Shankar on April 7, 1920, in Varanasi.