Eminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away at a city hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. She was 88 and survived by a daughter.
Considered as the queen of Thumri and fondly called Appa ji, Girija Devi was taken to the city’s BM Birla Heart Research Centre on Tuesday afternoon with cardiovascular ailments, She was put on life support, her family sources said.
The Times of India reported that last rites will be conducted in Varanasi, where she was born in 1929.
“Girija Devi’s condition was quite critical when she was brought to the hospital. She was admitted to the CCU and was under constant watch. But she passed away at around 8.45 pm,” hospital spokesperson told PTI.
Speaking to The Times of India, noted Sarod player and Yash Bharati recipient Pt. Vikash Maharaj said, “It is an irreparable loss to Indian music and Banaras Gharana of music. She was a guiding figure for us. She was ailing for some time, and admitted to BM Birla Hospital in Kolkata in the morning. She left for the heavenly abode in the evening.”
“Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers,” he tweeted.
A legendary singer of the “Benaras gharana” had received Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016.
Born in a zamindar family at a village near Banaras on May 8, 1929, music was a part of Girija Devi’s life from a very early age.