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Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is no more
PUNE, January 24: We regret to announce the demise of Hindustani vocalist legendary Pandit Bhimsen Joshi . He passed away at a Pune hospital on Monday after a prolonged illness.

He was 87. A recipient of Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, Joshi had been put on life support system following old age- related ailments leading to kidney and respiratory failure after his admission to hospital on December 31.

Joshi, the most-celebrated exponent of 'Kirana gharana' of Khansahib Abdul Karim Khan, leaves behind three sons and a daughter.

Born on February 4, 1922 at Gadag in Dharwad district of Karnataka, Joshi got a boost to his career during a concert in Pune in January 1946 on the occasion of the 60th birthday of his guru Sawai Gandharva. He had powerful voice, amazing breath control, fine musical sensibility and unwavering grasp of the fundamentals.

Joshi had also lent his voice as a "Dhrupad" singer for a Bengali film based on the life of Tansen and later sang as a playback singer for Marathi film "Gulacha Ganapati", produced and directed by Marathi humorist "Pu La" Deshpande. In addition to this, he also sang as a playback singer for Hindi movies "Basant Bahar" and "Bhairavi".

He was honoured with the Padma Shri (1972), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1975), Padma Bhushan (1985) and Madhya Pradesh government's "Tansen Samman" in 1992. Bharat Ratna was bestowed on him in 2008.

Joshi had undergone a surgery for removal of a brain tumor in 1999 followed by a cervical spine operation in 2005.

The maestro's last surprise public performance that regaled the audience was during 2007 'Sawai Gandharva' annual music festival, which he himself had started to commemorate the memory of his guru.