Eminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away at a hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said.
She was 88 and survived by a daughter.
Considered as the queen of Thumri and fondly called Appa ji, Girija Devi was taken to the city's BM Birla Heart Research Centre this afternoon with cardiovascular ailments, She was put on life support, her family sources said.
"Girija Devi's condition was quite critical when she was brought to the hospital. She was admitted to the CCU and was under constant watch. But she passed away at around 8.45 pm," hospital spokesperson told PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled her death, saying the singer's music appealed across generations and her pioneering efforts to popularise Indian classical music would always be remembered.
"Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers," he tweeted.
Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 24, 2017
A legendary singer of the "Benaras gharana" had received Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016.
Born in a zamindar family at a village near Banaras on May 8, 1929, music was a part of Girija Devi's life from a very early age.
"Seniormost artist of Benaras Gharanas Bidushi Girija Devi is no more. All the artist of Indian classical music will miss her," classical instrumentalist Pt Debojyoti Bose, who was close to her, said.
Describing the death of Girija Devi as a "great loss to the music world", West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her deep grief.
"Girija Devi's death is a great loss to the music world. We were honoured to confer her with Banga Bibhushan in 2015," Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle.
Girija Devi's death is a great loss to the music world. We were honoured to confer her with Banga Bibhushan in 2015— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) October 24, 2017
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also expressed his condolences at the sudden demise of Devi.
Ustad Rashid Khan recalled his association with Girija Devi who was the legendary exponent of Thumri and other forms of Hindustan classical music.
Khan said he had accompanied the artist during tours in the country as well as abroad. "I knew her since my childhood days and she was a mother figure to me," he said.
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