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Renowned Indian Musician Bismillah Khan Dies


One of India's best known musicians, Bismillah Khan, has died of heart failure. He was 90.

He was a master exponent of the wind instrument known as "shehnai", similar to a clarinet.

The government has declared a day of national mourning in his honor.

Flags were lowered at government buildings, and offices and schools were closed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where he lived in his hometown of Varanasi.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the country in mourning the musician, saying his death brings an end to an era.

Winner of India's highest civilian award, Khan was a Muslim but played the instrument at countless Hindu religious ceremonies, and became a symbol of India's secular traditions.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.