Eminent Rabindra Sangeet exponent and Ekushey Padak awardee Mita Huq passed away at 6:20 yesterday morning in the capital's Bangladesh Specialized Hospital.
She was 59.
After fighting Covid-19, she had tested negative for it five days ago. However, her condition worsened and she was taken to hospital again.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Abdul Hamid expressed grief and sent heartfelt condolences to Mita Huq's family.
"We will remember her role in popularising Rabindra Sangeet among the masses", said the President in his message.
She was taken to Chhayanaut Sangeet Bidyayatan at 11:00am yesterday for her colleagues and well-wishers to pay their last respects. She was buried next to her father at Keraniganj's Boromonoharia.
"I am shocked," said eminent Rabindra Sangeet exponent, Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya. "This is an irrevocable loss for Rabindra Sangeet. We always kept in touch and her premature demise really hurts me. May she rest in peace."
Sadi Mohammad, one of the most revered Rabindra Sangeet artistes in the country, said that he saw Mita as his younger sister. "I have done so many shows with her both at home and abroad… She would visit me whenever she felt better and would be really happy whenever we visited her. I would often cook and take food for her. My heart is filled with sorrow now."
Renowned Nazrul Sangeet artiste Sujit Mustafa also shared his grief. "She was a rare talent -- a top tier artiste. There are many singers who can sing commercially today but very few have the calibre of Mita Huq. She wanted to get well and return to music. Unfortunately, this will not happen anymore."
"I am at a loss," said National Award winning singer-composer Bappa Mazumder. "It is difficult to accept that Mita di left us."
Famed classical exponent and guru Asit Dey considers Mita Huq to be an example for the next generation to follow. "She was an artiste's artiste -- a role model. I have never seen her without a smile on her face. She used to come to our classical music ashor and would listen to music all night, such was her love towards music."
Noted actor Runa Khan said, "I lost someone so dear to me. This void is never to be filled. I just pray that she found peace in her passing."
Her passing is indeed a huge loss to Rabindra Sangeet.
The artiste, who had carved her own niche in the art, was unique in her presentation. In both West Bengal and Bangladesh, she was seen as a pioneer with a inimitable style, never likening herself to anyone else's pattern.
Born into a musical family, the noted artiste received her training from maestros such as the late Wahidul Huq, Sanjida Khatun and Ustad Mohammad Hossain Khan. She was a regular performer in the Bangladesh TV and radio since 1977.
She participated in the Berlin International Youth Festival in 1974, and since then, travelled all over the world for performances.
The singer rose to prominence in the 90's with her first album "Amar Mon Mane Na". With her mellifluous voice, she won over the hearts of all Bangladeshi listeners. She voiced over 200 albums throughout her illustrious career.
Mita Huq was also the founder director and teacher of the Music Training and Performance Group -- Surtirtha -- and served as the head of the department of Rabindra Sangeet at Chhayanaut Institute in Dhaka. She was also the former general secretary and incumbent vice-president of the Rabindra Sangeet Shommelon Parishad. In 2017, she and writer Hayat Mamud received the Rabindra Puraskar from Bangla Academy.
The legendary artiste was awarded the coveted Ekushey Padak in 2020 for her contributions to music.
She was outspoken about the divisiveness, moral corruption and violence in a world where Tagore had spoken of unconditional peace and urged everyone to be kinder to one another.
For the last five years, Mita Huq had been battling various kidney-related diseases and underwent dialysis.
The singer was married to actor-director Khaled Khan, who passed away in December 2013. Farhin Khan Joyita, a renowned singer, is their only daughter.