Milkha Singh 1929 - 2021

Chandigarh loses its most precious gem

91-year-old Milkha Singh passes away into eternity days after wife’s death | City mourns the legendary athlete

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18

After struggling for nearly a month, legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh passed away at the PGI here tonight. The Flying Sikh breathed his last at 11.30 pm.

The legendary Milkha Singh at a competition. File

“With extreme sadness we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh ji passed away at 11.30 pm on June 18, 2021,” read a statement issued by the Milkha family.

With his family during an outing. File

“He fought hard but God has his ways and it was perhaps true love and companionship that both our mother, Nirmal ji, and now dad have passed away in a matter of five days,” read the statement.

Milkha’s wife, Nirmal Milkha, a former captain of the Indian women’s volleyball team, died on June 13 due to complications related to Covid-19. “We are deeply indebted to doctors at the PGI for their valiant efforts and the love and prayers we received from across the world,” the statement added.

Earlier in the day, Milkha’s health deteriorated due to fever, followed by desaturation and low pulse.

Kin with Milkha’s body at the PGI late on Friday night. Deepankar Sharda

Legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh was admitted to the ICU of the Covid hospital at the PGI on June 3, 2021, and was treated for Covid there till June 13, said PGI spokesperson Prof Ashok Kumar. “After putting up a valiant battle with Covid, Milkha Singh tested negative. However, due to post-Covid complications he was shifted out of the Covid hospital to a medical ICU. Despite best of the efforts by the medical team, Milkha Singh ji could not be retrieved,” said Prof Kumar.

Prof Jagat Ram, Director, PGI, expressed condolences on the demise of the “most revered sporting icon”. “He will be remembered for his exceptional accomplishments on and off the field and his endearing and humane personality,” he said.

A True Love story

With Milkha dying five days after his wife Nirmal passed away, the never forgetting love story continues. While Nirmal was leading the Indian volleyball team in Sri Lanka, Milkha had gone there to compete in an athletics meet. Later, they met at the College of Physical Education, Patiala. The then Punjab Chief Minister Partap Singh Kairon is believed to have intervened to get Milkha and Nirmal married. Since then, the couple was never separated.

Had special place in hearts of indians: PM

}In the passing away of Milkha Singh ji, we have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation’s imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. Anguished by his passing away. Narendra Modi, PM

India has lost its star: Rijiju

}India has lost its star. Milkha Singh ji has left us but he will continue to inspire every Indian to shine for India. Kiren Rijiju, Union Sports Minister

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