REUTERS INDIA, TIMES OF INDIA (India), BBC NEWS (UK)
SAN DIEGO - Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who influenced everyone from the Beatles to Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, has died at the age of 92 after he failed to recover from recent heart surgery in San Diego.
[Ravi Shankar in March 2009 - Photo: Alexandra Ignatenko]
"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," his wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka told Reuters. Shankar is also survived by his other daughter, American singer/songwriter Norah Jones, with whom he reconciled after years of the two being estranged. He spent much of his time in recent years in his home north of San Diego.
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Shankar as a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage," BBC News reports.
In 1999, Shankar was the recipient of the highest civilian citation in India - the Bharat Ratna ("Jewel of India"), the Times Of India recalls.
Born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury in 1920, the three-time Grammy winner rose to fame through his association with The Beatles after becoming close friends with George Harrison and teaching him to play the sitar in the 1960s.
Shankar is thought to be the inspiration behind the Beatles' Within You Without You, and more generally helped bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.
Shankar became an icon of the hippy movement when he performed at Woodstock and at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival – although he later distanced himself from the movement.
Ravi Shankar was a happy Hippie ! There was nothing traditional about him— Gurinder S Ahluwalia (@Guri02) December 12, 2012
Tributes to the sitar maestro, whom George Harrison once called the "godfather of world music," have been pouring in, with many artists taking to Twitter to pay their respects to the influential virtuoso.
Sad day; spiritual, cultural & music legend, Ravi Shankar dead at 92. RIP.— Slash (@Slash) December 12, 2012
Ravi Shankar has left the building.92.. a wonderful life.Here's a photo I took of him at the Monterey Pop... fb.me/2ieTskmHI— Terry Gilliam (@terrygilliamweb) December 12, 2012
RIP to my namesake #Ravi Shankar who I have been mistaken for innumerable times since I was a young boy and whose ragas still rock— Ravi Shankar (@empurpler) December 12, 2012