Lata Mangeshkar, Singing Legend, Dead at 92

Legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar, known as the "nightingale of Bollywood," has died. Mangeshkar passed away on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 6 at Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai of multiple organ failure, her physician, Dr. Pratit Samdani, told reporters, per the Associated Press. Mangeshkar had been admitted to the hospital on Jan. 11 after contracting COVID-19, and while she was taken off the ventilator after her condition improved later that month, her health began to deteriorate on Saturday and she was placed back on life support, her doctor confirmed. Mangeshkar was 92.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi confirmed Mangeshkar's passing in an emotional social media tribute, sharing that he was "anguished beyond words" to learn of Mangeshkar's death. Modi said Mangeshkar "leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled" and remembered her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people." He went on to share that Mangeshkar's "songs brought out a variety of emotions. She closely witnessed the transitions of the Indian film world for decades," adding that "she was always passionate about India's growth." Modi concluded, "I grieve with my fellow Indians on the passing away of Lata Didi. Spoke to her family and expressed condolences. Om Shanti."

Born in the central Indian city of Indore on 28 September 1929 as the eldest of five children, Mangeshkar turned to acting to earn a living in the early 1940s following the death of her father. She would go on to act in eight Marathi and Hindi films, eventually making her singing debut in the 1943 Marathi film Gajabhau, according to the BBC. After signing her first full song in the film Mahal in 1949, Mangeshkar went on to have a decades-long career singing songs in such films as Pakeezah, Majboor, Awaara, Mughal e Zam, Shree 420, Aradhana, and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. In total, she lent her voice to over 5,000 songs in over a thousand Bollywood and regional language films, earning her the nickname the "nightingale of Bollywood." In 2001, she was awarded the "Bharat Ratna," India's highest civilian honor.

News of Mangeshkar's passing was met with an outpouring of tributes. Pakistani international cricketer Mohammad Babar Azam tweeted that it was the "end of a golden era. Her magical voice and legacy will continue to live in the hearts of millions worldwide. An unparalleled icon!" Pakistani politician Maryam Nawaz Sharif wrote that Mangeshkar's "voice, songs & the emotions they evoked will never die. There never will be another Lata. Condolences to the family."

According to the BBC, Mangeshkar was cremated and honored at a state funeral Sunday. The ceremony was attended by Modi and stars of the entertainment industry, with large crowds having gathered to pay their respects. The Indian government has ordered two days of national mourning for the late singer, and the national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country. Mangeshkar is survived by her four siblings.