SPB, The Legend: The Voice That United Indian Film Fans

Chennai: Legendary playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on Friday. The versatile singer, who was also an accomplished and award winning actor, has sung across all the major film industries in South India and has been the toast of Bollywood too during the late 80s and early 90s.

After Mr Balasubrahmanyam’s son S P Charan announced his death, tributes to him poured in on social media soon. H D Deve Gowda, Shiva Kumar and Khushbu Sundar shared posts, as did Hema Malini. Hema Malini tweeted, “End of an era! Versatile musical genius passes away. SP Balasubramaniam succumbs to the terrible covid virus after a prolonged battle in hospital. God give him peace. He will be missed by all.” Soundarya Rajinikanth, daughter of Mr Balasubrahmanyam’s longtime collaborator Rajinikanth, was among the first to share a tribute, writing “RIP SPB sir.”
“Devastated,” wrote A R Rahman, for whom S P Balasubrahmanyam had sung several songs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his condolences said, “With the unfortunate demise of Shri SP Balasubrahmanyam, our cultural world is a lot poorer. A household name across India, his melodious voice and music enthralled audiences for decades. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

Celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Mahesh Babu and others poured in condolences. Akshay Kumar wrote, “Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Balasubrahmanyam ji. Just a few months back I’d interacted with him during a virtual concert in this lockdown.. he seemed hale, hearty & his usual legendary self…life is truly unpredictable. My thoughts & prayers with his family.”

Mahesh Babu tweeted, “Unable to process the fact that #SPBalasubramaniam garu is no more. Nothing will ever come close to that soulful voice of his. Rest in peace sir. Your legacy will live on. Heartfelt condolences and strength to the family.” Shruti Haasan said, Deeply saddened by the loss of #SPBalasubramaniam sir.. thankyou for your artistry and your kind words.may the halls of heaven be filled with your resplendent voice. You were family and the loss is heartbreaking.”

S P Balasubrahmanyam, winner of six National Awards, leaves behind a vast body of work that spans 40,000 songs in 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi. He worked extensively for Ilaiyaraaja, A R Rahman and other composers. In the Hindi film industry, he sang for Salman Khan in several films. He was also an actor, producer and voice actor. SPB was a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter — both are playback singers.

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