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Indian Sitar Legend Ravi Shankar Dead at 92

  • VOA News

A student pays tribute to legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar at the Bengali Tola Inter College, where Shankar had studied in Varanasi, India, Dec. 12, 2012.

A student pays tribute to legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar at the Bengali Tola Inter College, where Shankar had studied in Varanasi, India, Dec. 12, 2012.

Indian sitar star Ravi Shankar, who influenced a range of musicians from the late Beatle George Harrison to jazz legend John Coltrane, has died in the United States at the age of 92.

Shankar's family said he passed away on Tuesday in a California hospital, where he was recovering from an operation to replace a heart valve. He is survived by his wife Sukanya, daughters American singer-songwriter Norah Jones and fellow first-class sitar player Anoushka Shankar, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh posted online that Shankar was a "national treasure" and "global ambassador of India's cultural heritage."

Shankar was the first Indian musician to become a household name in the West after being embraced by the counterculture movement of the 1960s. He shot to superstardom after being embraced by Beatle George Harrison, who called Shankar "the godfather" of the music world. The two collaborated on several projects, including Harrison's 1971 relief concert for Bangladesh.

Shankar was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor, and also won three Grammy awards. He also has been nominated for a 2013 Grammy for his album, "The Living Room Sessions, Part 1," an honor he learned about just before he went in for surgery last week.

Despite his failing health, Shankar performed for the last time in public last month with his daughter Anoushka in celebration of his tenth decade of creating music.

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