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Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan passes away
Dies after protracted illness in a Karachi hospital
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Legendary ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan passed away after protracted illness at a private hospital in Karachi on Wednesday. He was 85.

Hassan had been battling paralysis, lung, chest and urinary tract disorder for the past over 12 years. On May 30, he fell severely ill and was admitted to Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi where he had been on life-support system since then.

His son Arif Mehdi said his father showed some signs of improvement five days ago and also talked to family members. However, his condition deteriorated again because of liver infection that proved to be the immediate cause of his death.

The funeral prayers would be offered on Friday. The Pakistan Government has been approached to allow his burial on the premises of Quaide-Azam mausoleum, the last abode of the father of the nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

The demise of the ghazal maestro, best known as "Shehanshah-e-Ghazal", cast a pall of gloom among his admirers and music lovers in Pakistan, India and other parts of the world.

Top leadership of Pakistan and India and many big names of the film and music world, including President Zardari, PM Gilani, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif, Lata Mangeshkar, Salamat Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali, Shaukat Ali, Tina Sahini, Abida Parvin and others expressed deep sense of grief while paying rich tribute to Mehdi Hassan.

Classical singer Salamat Ali said Mehdi Hassan was one of the greatest ghazal singers of the century with unmatched rhythm and lyricism. Ghulam Ali said an era had ended with his death.

Abida Parveen said no singer had blended classical and semi-classical ghazal singing with as much ease and command as Mehdi Hassan.

Lata Mangeshkar, who once said that "Bhagwan (God) speaks in Mehdi Hassan's voice", said she was deeply saddened to hear the news of Mehdi Hassan's demise. "It was unfortunate that such a great artiste had to suffer so much during the last some years," she said. "A voice like his may never be heard again," she added.

Mehdi Hassan won several national and international awards, including the highest civil award Hilal-i-Pakistan, Sehgal Award at Jalandhar in 1979 and Nepal's Gorkha Dakshina Bahu.





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