Chennai: The youthful and romantic voice that mesmerised Indian cinema across ages has passed away on Friday afternoon. SP Balasubrahmanyam famously called SPB and known as Balu among his peers, the 74-year-old veteran singer, actor, and film producer who lost his long fight to complications emerging from COVID-19, disheartening his fans and the tinsel town in distress.

Starting his career as a playback vocalist in the Telugu film industry at the age of 20, SPB went on to sing unceasingly well-known numbers for best heroes in all south Indian dialects and Hindi among others. He holds the record of singing more than 40,000 songs in over a dozen dialects.

If in Tamil he sang for demi-gods of the yesteryears such as M G Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan and reigning stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, SPB debuted in Bollywood with Ek Duje Ke Liye in the early 1980s and went on to become the voice of Salman Khan in his smashing hits like Maine Pyar Kiya, Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, and Roja

A self-professed fan of Mohamed Rafi, SPB remains the only truly pan-Indian singer from the south, who has achieved success in such scale in Bollywood. His ‘Tere mere beech mein’ in Ek Duje Ke Liye; ‘Yeh haseen vadiyan’ in Roja and ‘Aaja shaam hone aayee’ in Main Pyar Kiya remain among the popular chartbusters till this day.

Born in Andhra Pradesh as Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam in June 1946, the Singer had little formal training in music. In spite of his big appearance in Bollywood was not simple, once he entranced the audience and there was no looking back. He once reviewed how he would record 15 to 20 tunes for the composer duo Anand-Milind in Mumbai and take the last flight back to Chennai, the Kollywood hub.

A week after testing positive for COVID-19 and reporting on social media that he was confronting mild indications, Balasubrahmanyam was on life support at Chennai’s MGM Healthcare healing center and his condition was basic. This was in August. He tested negative for COVID-19 on September 4th. In spite of maximal life support measures and the leading endeavours of the clinical group, his condition weakened further and he suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest. We lost him on September 25th at 13:04 Hours.

The singer’s son SP Charan announcing via social media that his father’s health was steady and after then improving. Afterward, Instagram video updates indicate that the celebrated singer was on the road to recovery, with the final upgrade, posted on Tuesday showing that Balasubrahmanyam was “eager to leave the hospital”.

Since after that, there has been no social media update. “SP Balasubrahmanyam’s condition in the last 24 hours has deteriorated further warranting maximal life support and he is extremely critical. He remains on ECMO and other life support measures. He was admitted to the hospital on August 5,” MGM Healthcare said on Thursday. This was followed by famous personalities and ordinary citizens offering their prayers and hoping for a rapid recovery.

SPB’s son SP Charan told reporters at MGM Healthcare, “SPB belongs to everyone. He will live on in his songs. My dad passed away at 1.04 pm.”

The legendary SP Balasubrahmanyam’s funeral was held at his Red Hills farmhouse in Thiruvallur area of Tamil Nadu, a few 50 km from Chennai with police honours. The singer whose voice charmed Indian cinema and music significant others over the last 50 years was respected with a 72-gun salute by the Tamil Nadu police. S P Balasubrahmanyam passed on at a Chennai hospital on Friday evening. He was 74. On-screen character Vijay paid his last regards to the legendary singer- he supported SPB’s child S P Charan with folded hands and a hug. S P Balasubrahmanyam was the voice of actor Vijay in songs like Oru Kaditham, Enna Azhagu, and Azhagooril.

Veteran director Bharathiraja, who was moreover at the hospital last evening attended the funeral and so did singer Mano. Music composer Devi Sri Prasad and comedian Mayilsami were also present at S P Balasubrahmanyam’s funeral.