Shahnaz Rahmatullah, the queen of modern Bangla music with an illustrious career spanning decades, passed away yesterday.
She was 67.
The singer died of heart attack at her Baridhara residence in the capital last night, lyricist and journalist Kabir Bokul told The Daily Star.
She left behind her husband, a son and a daughter.
The artiste was born in Dhaka to M Fazlul Haque and Aasia Haque. Under her mother's watchful grooming, she was taught singing as a child, and gained public recognition from a young age.
Her professional experience began at the age of 11, as a playback singer of Notun Shur (1963), and appeared on television from 1964.
All her life, she was revered also for ghazals. In recognition of her timeless songs, she was awarded Ekushey Padak, National Film Awards, Bangladesh Shilpakala Award and many more.
After the Liberation War, she sang Ek Nodi Rokto Periye, considered to be one of the finest patriotic songs ever written in Bangla, for Khan Ataur Rahman's Abar Tora Manush Ho (1973).
After a BBC survey of 20 greatest Bangla songs of all times, listeners selected Ek Nodi Rokto Periye as the 9th best.
The song, written and composed by Khan Ataur Rahman, recalls the contribution of the freedom fighters during the 1971 war.
Her other evergreen songs include Ekbar Jete De Na Amar Chotto Sonar Gaye, Je Chhilo Drishtir Shimanay, Ek Tara Tui Desher Kotha, Amar Desher Matir Gondhe, Sagorer Teer Theke, and Phuler Kane Bhramar Ese.
Shahnaz had wrapped up her career as a singer on personal grounds seven to eight years ago. The announcement came as a shock to many of her fans. She recorded three songs for an album, Badal Diner Pakhi, and that marked the end of the memorable career.