Legendary Indian sitarist, composer Ravi Shankar dead at 92

Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:03am EST
 
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By Jill Serjeant and Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar, who helped introduce the sitar to the Western world through his collaborations with The Beatles, died in Southern California on Tuesday, his family said. He was 92.

Shankar, a three-time Grammy winner with legendary appearances at the 1967 Monterey Festival and at Woodstock, had been in fragile health for several years and last Thursday underwent surgery, his family said in a statement.

"Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives," the family said. "He will live forever in our hearts and in his music."

In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office posted a Twitter message calling Shankar a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage."

"An era has passed away with ... Ravi Shankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility," the Indian premier added.

Shankar had suffered from upper respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last week at a hospital in San Diego, south of Los Angeles.

The surgery was successful but he was unable to recover.

"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," his wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said.   Continued...

 
Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar performs in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata in this February 7, 2009 file photo. Sitarist and composer Shankar has died in San Diego, media reports said on December 12, 2012. Shankar, 92, a three-time Grammy winner with legendary appearances at the 1967 Monterey Pop festival and Woodstock, was admitted to hospital last week after he complained of breathlessness, the Hindu reported. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files