MUMBAI - Legendary Bollywood singer Manna Dey died in a Bangalore hospital early Thursday after a five-decade career on the soundtracks of Indian movie classics, reports said. He was 94.
The star was hospitalised last May and was being treated for a kidney infection when his organs failed, said Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences official K. Vasuki.
"We are saddened by his loss, but he died peacefully. His last rites will be performed later in the day," Dey's son-in-law Jnanranjan Deb told the Press Trust of India.
Dey recorded nearly 4,000 songs, which can be heard in scores of Bollywood films.
Born in Calcutta in May 1919 as Prabodh Chandra Dey, he was given the nickname Manna by his uncle K.C. Dey, a well-known singer and actor. After he graduated from college, he travelled to Mumbai where he was first employed as an assistant, before making his debut as a playback singer in the 1943 film Tamanna (Desire).
His first big hit came seven years later in Mashaal (Torch) and his career went on to span more than 50 years. His last recording, for Umar (Age), was in 2006.
The versatile singer was as much at ease with a classical Indian song as he was with a peppy youthful one. Besides Hindi, he also sang in regional languages such as Bengali, Malayalam, Bhojpuri and Gujarati. He won various awards for his work in the music industry, including the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award from the Indian government.
He sang various numbers in films for Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who was one of many in the industry to pay tribute to Dey on Twitter. "Manna Dey, stalwart of the music world, passes away. Flooded with memories and his songs," Bachchan wrote. Actor Shabana Azmi wrote: "Manna Dey had a unique voice. He will live on through his songs."
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