Pandit Ravi Shankar passes away

92-yr-old sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away at a San Diego hospital. He was admitted at  the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla last Thursday after he complained of breathing difficulties. He breathed his last at 4.30 pm Pacific Time.

Over his 60 odd years as a musician, Shankar has won numerous national and international awards. He received the Padma Bhushan in 1967, Padma Vibhushan in 1981 and Bharat Ratna in 1999. He is also a three-time Grammy winner. He is an honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers.

Ravi Shankar was born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on April 7, 1920 to a Bengali family in Varanasi. He started his career as a dancer in his brother Uday Shankar's dance troupe.He gave up dancing in 1938 to learn the sitar under court musician Allauddin Khan. From then, there was no stopping him.

Besides his contribution to Indian classical music, Shankar has also composed for films in India and abroad.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday condoled the passing away of legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar and described him as a national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage.  India's ambassador to US Nirupama Rao tweeted, "Pandit Ravi Shankar. Mourn passing of a musical genius and gentle soul. Attended his last concert Nov in Calif. He played with such passion."

Pandit Ravi Shankar's personal life as much in the news as his music. He married Annapurna Devi, his guru Baba Allaudin Khan's daughter when he was 21 years old and had a son, Shubhendra Shankar, with her. Norah Jones is Pandit Ravi Shankar's daughter with American Sue Jones, with whom he had almost a 5 year relationship. Sitarist Anoushka Shankar is his daughter with Sukanya Rajan.