Renowned playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam passed away at a private hospital in Chennai today. He was 74 years old at the time of passing.
Balasubrahmanyam was hospitalised in August at MGM Healthcare after testing positive for COVID-19, and while he reportedly did well initially, he took a turn for the worse, and was put on a ventilator and ECMO support.
On September 7, he tested negative for COVID-19, but continued to be on the ventilator and ECMO even as he participated in passive physiotherapy.
Popularly known as SPB, Balasubrahmanyam made his singing debut in 1966 with the Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. He has sung over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.
He bagged his first national award for Sankarabharanam. The second time he won the award, was for his first Hindi song, Tere Mere Beech Mein in the film Ek Duuje Ke Liye. Two more national awards came his way for the Telugu films Sagarasangamam and Rudraveena. Sangeetha Sagara Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai, the Kannada film won him the fifth national award. The award for Tamil films eluded him many years until he won it for the song Thanga Thamarai in the film Minsara Kanavu, for which the music was scored by A R Rahman.
Balasubrahmanyam also acted in a few movies. In addition, he was a voice-over artiste, most notably for actor Kamal Hassan, whenever the latter's Tamil movies were dubbed in Telugu.
He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter — both are playback singers.