Legendary Bollywood singer Manna Dey died in hospital on Thursday after a five-decade career on the soundtracks of Indian movie classics, reports said. He was 94.
The star, who had been unwell with respiratory problems in recent months, died of cardiac arrest in the early morning, a senior doctor at the Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital in southern Bangalore city told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
“We are saddened by his loss, but he died peacefully. His last rites will be performed later in the day,” his son-in-law Jnanranjan Deb told PTI.
Born in Kolkata in May 1919 as Prabodh Chandra Dey, he was given the nickname Manna by his uncle K.C. Dey, a well-known singer and actor who was a great influence on his nephew.
After he graduated from college, Manna travelled to Mumbai where he was first employed as an assistant, before making his debut as a playback singer in the 1943 film ‘Tamanna‘ (Desire).
His first big hit came seven years later in ‘Mashaal‘ (Torch) and his career went on to span more than five decades, during which he recorded over 3,000 songs.
His last recording, for “Umar” (Age), was in 2006.
The versatile singer was as much at ease with a classical Indian song as he was with a peppy youthful one. Beside Hindi, he also sang in regional languages such as Bengali, Malayalam, Bhojpuri and Gujarati.
He won various awards for his work in the music industry, including the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award from the Indian government.
His sang various numbers in films for Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who was one of many in the industry to pay tribute to Dey on Twitter.
“Manna Dey, stalwart of the music world, passes away. Flooded with memories and his songs,” Bachchan wrote.
“Manna Dey had a unique voice. He will live on through his songs,” wrote actor Shabana Azmi.