Ravi Shankar dies at age 92 after heart and respiratory problems


Ravi Shankar, an Indian sitar player dubbed the "godfather of world music," died on Dec. 11 after suffering from upper respiratory and heart problems. He was 92.

The beloved musician who once played with The Beatles and is recognized as the person who inspired George Harrison to learn the sitar had been hospitalized near his home in Southern California after undergoing a heart-valve replacement surgery recently. His family confirmed that he died in a statement, saying, "He underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away ... His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music."

The last concert Shankar performed at was in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 4. Beyond being a musician, he also served as a member of the upper chamber of the Parliament of India from 1986 to 1992. The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, had his office respond to Shankar's death over Twitter.

"Prime Minister condoles the passing away of Pandit Ravishankar - A national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage," the office tweeted. "PM: An era has passed away with Pt. Ravishankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility."

Shankar is survived by his three children, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. One of those children is singer Norah Jones, who has issued a statement about her father's music. It's been reported that Shankar was not very involved in Jones' upbringing.

"My Dad's music touched millions of people. He will be greatly missed by me and music lovers everywhere," Jones said in a statement to Speakeasy.

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