File photo: The Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu presents the centenary award to the Legendary Singer, Shri S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, at the inauguration of the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2016), in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2016. The Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Laxmikant Parsekar and the Actor Mukesh Khanna are also seen.

Singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, who enthralled music lovers for 55 years, is no more

Renowned Indian singer and legendary S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, 74, who worked predominantly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam, passed away in Chennai on Thursday night after battling the Covid-19 for nearly two months.

The Chennai-based MGM Hospital where the legendary singer was admitted on August 7 was put on ventilator and was on machine support till he breathed his last on Thursday. In its daily bulletin, the MGM Hospital Assistant Director Dr Anuradha Bhaskaran described his condition as “extremely critical”, indicating that he may be moved out of the life-support system.

SP Balasubrahmanyam

SP Balasubrahmanyam health bulletin by MGM Hospital

Balasubramanyam tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai on August 7 and his condition deterioated on August 13, forcing the doctors to move him to the ICU in a critical state and was kept on ventilator support till now. He was declared to be in “extremely critical” stage by Chennai-based MGM Hospital  as of 6:30 pm bulletin on Septemeber 24, 2020. Apparently, family members had been advised to inform close relatives.

Legend in Telugu

Balu, as he is known in the film fraternity, has recorded over 40,000 songs in 16 Indian languages and holds the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer. He received six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his works in four different languages; Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi; 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his works towards Telugu cinema, numerous other state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

In 2016, He was honoured with the Indian Film Personality of the Year consisting of a Silver Peacock Medal and he received civilian awards such as Padma Shri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the Government of India.

Early Life

Born on June 4, 1946 in Nellore, Balasubrahmanyam developed an interest towards music at an early age, studied notations and learned music. He enrolled at JNTU College of Engineering Anantapur for engineering but discontinued his studies due to typhoid and joined as an Associate Member of the Institution of Engineers, Chennai.

He started his singing career in 1966 with the Telugu film Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna and he held the the rare distinction of rendering the most songs on a single day by any singer — recording 21 songs in Kannada for the composer Upendra Kumar in Bangalore from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on 8 February 1981 and 19 songs in Tamil, 16 songs in Hindi in a day which is a notable achievement and a record.

Balasubrahmanyam is survived by two children, daughter Pallavi, and son S. P. B. Charan, who is also a playback singer and film producer.


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