Celebrated and world-renowned drummer Gunga Sain has died. Sain passed away Sunday, April 18 in Lahore, Pakistan after going into cardiac arrest, his younger brother, Nazim Sain, confirmed to The Express Tribune last week. Nazim told the outlet his brother had complained of chest pain beginning approximately 15 days before his death and was admitted to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology. He suffered a heart attack on April 18 and died. Sain was 50.
Known for his powerful performance at the shrine of his "spiritual guide" Baba Shah Jamal, Sain rose to fame after his traditional dance to the beat of Sufi-style drums gained attention. He reportedly held performances every Thursday at the mausoleum of Shah Jamal, located in Lahore. His performances, however, quickly drew attention, and soon Sain became internationally known, performing in more than 87 countries throughout his career, including Canada, Japan, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Norway, India, and dozens of others. According to Geo News, the drummer also received numerous international awards for his performances.
What a sad day! Gunga Sain, the master of #Lahori #Sufi Thursday raves died today. This huge and tough-looking fella used to play the most delicate and rhythmic beats. I guess I can never ever forget his voice and dhol performances. Rest in Peace Gunga Sain! pic.twitter.com/yP18WUweMa— Umair Vahidy (@uvahidy) April 18, 2021
News of his death shocked his fans, many of whom took to social media to react and pay tribute to the late drummer after learning of his passing. Remembering Sain, one person called his passing "tragic" and said they "spent so many Thursday nights at Shah Jamaal (and sometimes Madho Lal Hussain in Baghbanpura) listening to the beat of his Dhol." Another person wrote, "Rest in peace Goonga Sayeen. The beat of his Dhol will resonate in every heart he touched with his smile n loving heart." A third person shared, "Condolences on tragic passing away of Gunga Sain as I'm writing this with a heart full of sadness & grief. A hardcore lover & azadar of Mola Hussain (as). He was gem of an artist when it comes to Husayni Dhamal. He's blessed by Masumeen He will always have place in my heart."
According to The Express Tribune, Sain was related to Pappu Sain, who also performed drums across the world and was recently awarded the Best South Asian Music Award at the BBC World Competition. Sain will be buried next to his parents in Thokar Niaz Beg Cemetery in Lahore.