Playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam is no more

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

S P Balasubrahmanyam

Fondly known as 'SPB' among millions of music fans, a renowned singer was admitted with mild Covid-19 symptoms at a private hospital in Chennai on August 5.

Veteran playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam, who was admitted to a private hospital last month for Covid-19 treatment, passed away here on Friday. He was 74.


Fondly known as ‘SPB’ or ‘Balu’ among millions of music fans across the world, the renowned singer was hospitalised on August 5 at MGM Healthcare. Before his admission, SPB himself posted a video on Facebook saying that he had chest congestion for a few days, along with a cold and fever. He also added that he has tested positive for a ‘mild’ case of Covid-19.

On September 4, the hospital announced that the singer has tested negative for Covid-19 but continued to be on the ventilator and ECMO even as he participated in passive physiotherapy.


SPB’s son, S P Charan, who has been providing regular updates on his father's health condition on September 19 said his father's health condition is improving and he had begun oral intake of food. “That should help him grow stronger and take care of other vitals as well,” Charan said.

However, on Thursday, MGM Healthcare issued a health bulletin informing the singer on ECMO and other life support measures and added that: “His condition in the last 24 hours has deteriorated further warranting maximum life support and he is extremely critical.”

On Friday, director-producer Venkat Prabhu posted a tweet "#RIPSPB 1:04pm”, which led to a pall of gloom across social media platforms.

In its official release, MGM Healthcare said that the singer was admitted on August 5 and commenced on life support measures since August 14 for severe Covid-19 pneumonia.

"In a further setback this morning, despite maximal life support measures and the best efforts of the clinical team, his condition deteriorated further and he suffered a cardia-respiratory arrest," the hospital said and confirmed that the singer passed away at 1.04 PM on Friday.


Ever since the news of SPB's passing away came in, tributes poured from various quarters. Leading film personalities, singers, writers, poets and politicians across the country took to Twitter to express their condolences.

"With the unfortunate demise of Shri SP Balasubrahmanyam, our cultural world is a lot poorer. A household name across India, his melodious voice and music enthralled audiences for decades. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with his family and admirers.Om Shanti," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.


In his condolence tweet, President Ramnath Kovind said, "In the passing of music legend SP Balasubrahmanyam Indian music has lost one of its most melodious voices. Called ‘Paadum Nila' or ‘Singing Moon’ by his countless fans, he was honoured with PadmaBhushan and many National Awards. Condolences to his family, friends and admirers."

Kollywood superstar Rajinikanth posted a condolence video and tweeted that "#RIP Balu sir ... you have been my voice for many years ... your voice and your memories will live with me forever ... I will truly miss you ..."

Actor-politician Kamal Haasan, who earlier said SPB lived as his voice and he as SPB's on-screen face for many years, paid a rich video tribute recalling their works with "I'm honoured to have lived as the shadow of SPB's voice."

Oscar winning music composer AR Rahman, Malayalam film superstar Mohanlal, cricketer VVS Laxman, Chess legend Viswanathan Anand and scores of film personalities and musicians cutting across languages expressed their shock and condolences.


SPB, Balasubrahmanyam made his singing debut in 1966 with Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. He has sung over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

He was survived by his wife Savitri, daughter Pallavi and a son SPB Charan, who is also a playback singer and producer.

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Published on September 25, 2020
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