Lata Mangeshkar, the “nightingale of India” who gave her voice to Indian movies for more than 70 years, died Sunday in Mumbai, according to her doctor.
She was 92.
“Lata Di died at 8:12 a.m. due to multi-organ failure after over 28 days of Covid-19 diagnosis,” Dr. Pratit Samdani told reporters outside Breach Candy Hospital.
Mangeshkar was a playback singer — providing music to be mimed by actors — for innumerable Indian movies. Her soft voice, which could attain a high pitch with an unsurpassable ease became a part of almost every Indian household, CNN reports.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “anguished beyond words.”
“The kind and caring Lata Didi (sister) has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled,” he wrote on Twitter Sunday. “The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people.”
The Indian government has ordered two days of national mourning for the late singer. The national flag will be flown at half-mast from Sunday through Monday, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement Sunday. “There will be no official entertainment,” the ministry added.
Bollywood actors and Indian politicians paid tribute to the late star Sunday.
“How can one forget such a voice! Deeply saddened by the passing away of Lata Mangeshkar ji, my sincere condolences and prayers,” wrote actor Akshay Kunar on Twitter.
MP for the opposition Congress party Rahul Gandhi also offered his condolences in a tweet. “She remained the most beloved voice of India for many decades,” he said. “Her golden voice is immortal and will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans.”
From the age of 5, Mangeshkar began training with her father in classical Indian music. Her father, Deenanath Mangeshkar, was an accomplished classical singer and stage actor. His daughter began her career by singing at his musical plays.
Mangeshkar performed in public for the first time when she was just 9 years old and recorded her first song at the age of 13. A month after she recorded her first song, her father died. Left to support four younger siblings and her mother, Mangeshkar began to work in the Indian film industry.
At first, music directors dismissed her, saying her voice was too thin and sharp. By 1948, she was lending her voice to half a dozen movies.