Sitar maestro and Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar passes away at 92 in San Diego

Pandit Ravi Shankar

An affair with Sue Jones, a New York concert producer, led to the birth of Norah Jones in 1979. Jones became a successful musician, winning eight Grammy Awards in 2003.

His second daughter Anoushka was born in 1981 with Sukanya Rajan, whom Shankar had known since the 1970s. He married Sukanya in 1989.

(Associated Press adds) Sitar maesto Pandit Ravi Shankar, who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career, died on Tuesday in San Diego. He was 92.

The prime minister's office confirmed his death and called him a "national treasure.''

Labelled "the godfather of world music'' by George Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.

He also pioneered the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh. To later generations, he was known as the estranged father of popular American singer Norah Jones.

As early as the 1950s, Shankar began collaborating with and teaching some of the greats of Western music, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. He played well-received shows in concert halls in Europe and the United States, but faced a constant struggle to bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.

Describing an early Shankar tour in 1957, Time magazine said "US audiences were receptive but occasionally puzzled.''

His close relationship with Harrison, the Beatles lead guitarist, shot Shankar to global stardom in the 1960s.

Harrison had grown fascinated with the sitar, a long necked, string instrument that uses a bulbous gourd for its resonating chamber and resembles a giant lute. He played the instrument, with a Western tuning, on the song "Norwegian Wood,'' but soon sought out Shankar, already a musical icon in India, to teach him to play it properly.

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