Mehdi Hassan, Legendary Pakistani Singer, Dies at 85

Beloved Pakistani singer Mehdi Hassan, a renowned exponent of the ghazal, died of prolonged illness at a Karachi hospital on Wednesday. He was 85.

Prior to his passing, Hassan had been suffering from a serious lung condition when his health suddenly deteriorated, according to the United Press International.

Mir Muneer, a renowned local singer who has performed alongside Hassan during a ghazal concert said:

“The emperor of ghazal singing is no more. He was the creator of a legendary style in ghazal singing and finally became a legend himself.”

Hassan, who was born in India, was called the king of ghazal ( an ancient Persian form of poetry) and was a favorite among connoisseurs of the genre.

Following his passing, hundreds of fans gathered at the hospital where he died in mourning while hordes of music lovers took to the internet to express their condolences.

Singer Talat Aziz, who trained under Hassan, said:

“I feel a tremendous personal sense of loss. I was his shagird (disciple), I spent a lot of time with him. For me he was a star. I don’t have words to describe his loss. He was a great asset to the world of Ghazal.”

Singer Lata Mangeshkar, who last sang with Hassan for the duet ‘Tera Milna’ in 2009, paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying there wouldn’t be another artist like him and compared Hassan’s singing to “the voice of a god.”

“A singer like him is born once in a millennium,” Mangeshkar wrote. “It is my bad luck that I could not sing with him when he was healthy. Now I can only regret. With his demise the music fraternity has lost a great and legendary singer.”

The Hindustan Times reports Hassan is survived by nine sons and five daughters.

In case you’ve never had the chance to hear Mehdi Hassan’s voice, listen as he sings Patta Patta Boota Boota in the video below: