Legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar has passed away at his home in San Diego at the age of 92.
Ravi Shankar was born at a time when India had not yet gained its independence, when Indian culture was scattered across several states, several disparate movements. Passing away yesterday (December 11th) at his home in San Diego, the musician leaves behind a global legacy.
The youngest of seven brothers, Ravi Shankar joined a local dance troupe who took him across India and through into Europe. Learning Western customs, the sitar player began absorbing other forms, other disciplines alongside his knowledge of traditional Indian methods of musicianship.
Helping to popularise the sitar and Indian culture, it was not until the late 50s that Ravi Shankar began to reach a wider audience. The Beatles famously became fans, with Shankar helping George Harrison to begin his study of the sitar. Touring across the globe, Ravi Shankar continued to experiment while finding renewed inspiration in the traditions which spawned his music.
Later settling in the United States, the Hindu reports that Ravi Shankar passed away at his home in San Diego yesterday (December 11th). Wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka Shankar Wright were at his side when he died.
“It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today,” Ms. Sukanya and Ms. Wright, said in a separate statement. “As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday 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,” the joint statement said. “We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music."
Our thoughts are with his friends and family.