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Sitar master Ravi Shankar dead at 92

Updated 1 hour 18 minutes ago
[Image: 4424150-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: Indian sitar guru Ravi Shankar plays in Bangalore in February (AFP: Manjunath Kiran)
EXTERNAL LINK: Ravi Shankar - Flickr gallery
MAP: India

Ravi Shankar, the sitar maestro who popularised Indian classical music in the West, has died at the age of 92.
In a statement, Shankar's family said he had been in fragile health for several years and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery in California last Thursday.
"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery," his wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said.
"We were at his side when he passed away.
"Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives.
"He will live forever in our hearts and in his music."
Shankar lived in both India and the United States. He is also survived by his daughter, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh expressed his sadness over the death and hailed Shankar as "a national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage".

VIDEO: George Harrison learns sitar from Ravi Shankar

Shankar, perhaps best known for his work with the Beatles, was born into a high-caste Bengali Brahmin family in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi in northern India on April 7, 1920.
He taught close friend and late Beatle George Harrison to play the sitar and collaborated with him on several projects, including the groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh in 1971.
The Beatles called him "the godfather of world music".
Shankar, who appeared at the 1967 Monterey Festival and Woodstock in 1969, was a three-time Grammy winner and had recently been nominated for a 2013 Grammy for his latest album, The Living Room Sessions, Part 1.
He was nominated for an Oscar in 1982 for his work on the film Gandhi, was a recipient of both India and France's highest civilian honours, and was awarded an honorary knighthood in Britain as well as a string of honorary degrees.
Shankar, who also sat in India's upper house of parliament and set up a charitable foundation, once said Indian audiences did not always approve of his association with Western rock stars and he was also not comfortable with the fame it brought him.
"When I started working with George Harrison I became like a pop star myself," he told The Guardian newspaper in a June 2011 interview.
"Everywhere I went, I was recognised. I didn't like that at all."

As a younger man, my bitterness and my education grew as so many of my heroes were being assassinated for political reasons. Now, I know I'm getting old, as my friends and heroes are dying now of natural causes. Life is short, and we all must make the most of it in what time we are alloted or lucky enough to get. Shankar's music really touched me, and introduced me to a new form of classical music. We still and always will have his music. He transcended musical styles. It is interesting to note that he lived his last years in San Diego.