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

Pandit Ravi Shankar

Legendary sitar maestro and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, who popularised Indian classical music in the West and had a major influence on icons like The Beatles' George Harrison and Yehudi Menuhin, died here on Tuesday at the age of 92.

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Shankar, whose health had been fragile for the past several years, underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last Thursday at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California where he breathed his last.

Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar at play. IE archive

The music icon was admitted to the hospital last week when he complained of breathlessness.

"It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today," his wife and daughter, Sukanya and Anoushka Shankar, said in a joint statement.

Sitar maestro and Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar with Beatles legend George Harrison. IE archive

In a separate statement, the Ravi Shankar Foundation and East Meets West Music said, "Shankar had suffered from upper respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last Thursday. Though the surgery was successful, recovery proved too difficult for the 92-year-old musician."

A recipient of Bharat Ratna in 1999, Shankar maintained residences in both India and the United States.

He is survived by his wife Sukanya, daughter Norah Jones; daughter Anoushka Shankar Wright, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

"As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life.

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