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An artist born but once in centuries: Tributes pour in for Lata Mangeshkar

Prominent personalities led by President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi mourned the legendary singer's passing 

Lata at a music launch in 2007. 
Lata at a music launch in 2007.  (AP)

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“The end of an era”, “an artist born but once in centuries” and a “void that cannot be fulfilled”, is how prominent personalities, led by President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi, mourned the passing of the legendary Lata Mangeshkar on Sunday.

The 92-year-old singer had tested positive for Covid with mild symptoms and was admitted on January 8 to Breach Candy Hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) where she was being treated by Dr Pratit Samdani and his team of doctors.

Mangeshkar's condition had improved in January and she was taken off the ventilator but her health deteriorated on Saturday. She died on Sunday morning due to multiple organ failure.

The President and the Prime Minister led the tributes for Mangeshkar who spent close to a month in the hospital before her demise.

"Lata-ji’s demise is heart-breaking for me, as it is for millions the world over. In her vast range of songs, rendering the essence and beauty of India, generations found expression of their inner-most emotions. A Bharat Ratna, Lata-ji’s accomplishments will remain incomparable," President Kovind wrote on Twitter along with a photo with the veteran playback singer.

"An artist born but once in centuries, Lata-didi was an exceptional human being, full of warmth, as I found whenever I met her... My condolences to her family and admirers everywhere," he said in another post.

PM Modi also shared a photo with Mangeshkar and said the legendary singer's demise leaves "a void that can't be filled".

"I am anguished beyond words. The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people," he wrote.

"Lata Didi’s songs brought out a variety of emotions. She closely witnessed the transitions of the Indian film world for decades. Beyond films, she was always passionate about India’s growth. She always wanted to see a strong and developed India."

In another post, PM Modi said he spoke with Mangeshkar's family and expressed his condolences.

"I consider it my honour that I have always received immense affection from Lata Didi. My interactions with her will remain unforgettable. I grieve with my fellow Indians on the passing away of Lata Didi," he said.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also tweeted his condolences, saying that he is "extremely saddened" by Mangeshkar's death.

"India has lost its voice in the death of Lata ji, who has enthralled music lovers in India & across the globe with her mellifluous & sublime voice for many decades," he added.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who visited south Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital earlier in the morning, said that Mangeshkar was "the pride of our nation".

"She took the country to greater heights, all over the world with her singing. Her voice was magical. Her loss is humungous, it's a void for all of us. I visited the hospital and had her darshan. It's the end of an era," Gadkari told reporters.

From the film industry, actors Shabana Azmi, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and filmmaker Hansal Mehta paid tributes to the singer.

Calling Mangeshkar India's national treasure, Azmi said her voice lit up our lives, gave us solace when we were sad, gave strength when we were low".

“Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hain, Gar Yaad Rahe… And how can one forget such a voice! Deeply saddened by the passing away of Lata Mangeshkar ji, my sincere condolences and prayers,” Kumar tweeted.

Devgn wrote, “An icon forever. I will always savour the legacy of her songs. How fortunate were we to have grown up listening to Lataji’s songs. Om Shanti. My deepest condolences to the Mangeshkar family.”

Mehta said “the heavens are blessed” to be in the company of the Nightingale of India.

"The nightingale moves on. The heavens are blessed. There will never be another Lataji. Om Shanti," Mehta tweeted.

Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said "one of the greatest Indians has left us" today.

"Thank you for the songs, the memories, the pride we felt because of you. #LataMangeshkar," he tweeted.

Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw also tweeted her condolences. “She has silenced our lives with her passing Om Shanthi,” she tweeted.

Regarded as one of Indian cinema's greatest playback singers, Mangeshkar started her career at the age of 13 in 1942 and has sung over 25,000 songs in various Indian languages.

In her over seven-decade career, she has sung a host of memorable tracks, including Ajeeb dastan hai ye, Pyar kiya to darna kya and Neela asman so gaya.

The singer – known as India's Melody Queen – was awarded with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, as well as the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. 

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