DHAKA: Ghazal legend Mehdi Hasan has passed away.
He was 84.
Hassan had multiple lung, chest and urinary tract ailments which were being treated in the Agha Khan Hospital in the southern port city of Karachi some days ago. He had been in a serious condition and was on ventilator.
"My father passed away at 12:22 PM after a long battle against different ailments," his son Arif Hassan said.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the hospital on learning of his death.
Family members said that they had been issued visas by the Indian High Commission for travel in the coming days. An air ambulance had been arranged for taking Mehdi Hassan to a hospital in India.
Funeral prayers for Hasan will be held in Karachi on Thursday.
The singer last performed in India in 2000. The Rajasthan government had extended support to the ailing singer’s family and had even promised medical treatment in the state. Hassan couldn’t visit India for treatment. However, he wished to meet Lata Mangeshkar, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.
Hassan was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village, Rajasthan, in 1927 before his family migrated to Pakistan after 1947.
Hassan made ends meet earlier in his life by working as a motor mechanic. His father, Ustad Aziz Khan, and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan, played an important role in his ghazal singing career.
He had been awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Pakistani government.
Hassan, who had a huge following in the subcontinent, cut back on his performances in the late 80s due to illness.
Considered one of the most successful ghazal singers of Pakistan, Mehdi Hasasn was trained in classical music by his father Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both well respected classical musicians.
Hassan tried different styles of music and there was a time in Pakistan`s film industry known as Lollywood when a production was considered incomplete without his voice.
Due to his remarkable commercial and artistic success he was titled ShahenShah-e-Ghazal (The King of Ghazal singing).
He also played the role of a cultural ambassador and visited India several times.
BDST: 1425 HRS, JUN 13, 2012
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