Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar passes away

Published: 12 December, 2012 12:36 IST | Agencies |

Legendary sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was 92, passed away in San Diego today.

Legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla for breathing difficulties, passed away in San Diego on today at the age of 92.

The sitar maestro had been admitted to the hospital on December 6.

Photos: Reliving the magic of Pandit Ravi Shankar

Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar passes away
Pandit Ravi Shankar with daughter Anoushka (File pic)

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The sitar exponent was responsible for making Indian classical music popular in the West and was also India's musical ambassador.

He had collaborated with several international artists including George Harrison of ‘The Beatles’, which had garnered him fame all over the world.

He was active as a professional musician till the end and was one of the contenders for the next Grammys.

Panditji is survived by his wife Sukanya and musician daughters, sitar player Anoushka Shankar and singer Norah Jones.

Ravi Shankar was born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on April 7, 1920 and was referred by the title Pandit

Shankar was born in Varanasi and spent his youth touring Europe and India with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar.

He gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan.

After finishing his studies in 1944, Shankar worked as a composer, creating music for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, and was music director of All India Radio, New Delhi, from 1949 to 1956.

In 1956, he began to tour Europe and America playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison.


Shankar was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1999, and has received three Grammy Awards.

A national treasure: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed grief over the passing away of the sitar maestro.

"An era has passed away with Pt. Ravishankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a message on micro-blogging site Twitter.

"A national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage," it added.

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