2020 got even worst yesterday when the news of playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, popularly know as SPB or Balu, passing away reached us. The Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee, who has recorded over 40,000 songs in 16 languages in over 50 years, passes away on Friday afternoon after battling COVID-19.
The late singer’s son, Charan briefly spoke to the media outside the hospital and said that the veteran passed away at 1.04 p.m. He thanked the hospital officials for the treatment and service.
The singer’s body was taken to his residence after embalming for public homage in the evening. Now we have learnt that a large number of people have gathered at his residence here to have a last glimpse and pay their respects to the singer. Also, the last rites of SP Balasubrahmanyam will be held on Saturday at his farmhouse at Thamaraipakkam.
MGM Healthcare released a statement announcing the death of SP Balasubrahmanyam. It said, “In a further setback this morning, despite maximal life support measures and the best efforts of the clinical team, his condition deteriorated further and he suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest. With profound grief, we regret to inform that he has passed away on September 25 at 13.04 hours.”
The hospital said Balasubrahmanyam was on life support measures since Aug 14 for severe COVID-19 pneumonia. On August 5, in a Facebook post, the 74-year-old SPB said that he was suffering from a very mild attack of coronavirus and had got himself hospitalised to take rest.
SP Balasubrahmanyam said doctors had advised him to stay at home and take rest but he decided to be in a hospital. He hoped to get discharged from the hospital in two days. But it was not to be.
For a brief period, he showed some improvement in his health condition and had tested negative for coronavirus on September 4. But on Thursday the hospital said his condition was extremely critical. On Thursday MGM Healthcare said SP Balasubrahmanyam remained on ECMO and other life support systems.
The hospital said, “His condition in the last 24 hours has deteriorated further warranting maximal life support and he is extremely critical. The team of experts at MGM Healthcare are closely monitoring his health condition.”
Since Friday morning a large number of police personnel were deployed outside the hospital.
It was movie director Venkat Prabha who first tweeted about SP Balasubrahmanyam’s death.
Meanwhile, political leaders across the country — President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, DMK President M.K. Stalin, MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, PMK Founder S. Ramadoss and Chief Ministers of several other states mourned the singer’s death.
Many celebrities from across the country tweeted about his death and offered their condolences. Actor Rajinikanth tweeted: “Balu sir … you have been my voice for many years … your voice and your memories will live with me forever … I will truly miss you …”
— Rajinikanth (@rajinikanth) September 25, 2020
“I have no words to say. There can be one and only Balu Sir. I have sung a couple of songs with Balu Sir in Tamil movies. In those days the recording used to be live and it was interesting. He encouraged me a lot. Some months back I had met him. He enquired about my family and me,” playback singer Jency told IANS from Ernakulam in Kerala.
Rest in Peace SP Balasubrahmanyam.