Pandit Birju Maharaj, legendary Kathak dancer, passes away at 83

Pandit Birju Maharaj, legendary Kathak dancer, passes away at 83

Legendary Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj, a recipient of India’s second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan, passed away at his residence in Delhi following a heart attack late on Sunday. He was 83.

His disciples and legions of followers fondly called him Pandit ji or Maharaj ji.

He was playing with his grandsons late on Sunday night when his health deteriorated and he became unconscious, reports said. He was then rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead.

“He was under treatment for the past month. He had sudden breathlessness at around 12:15-12:30 am last night; we brought him to the hospital within 10 mins, but he passed away,” Ragini Maharaj, Birju Maharaj’s granddaughter, told ANI.

Pandit Birju Maharaj, legendary Kathak dancer, passes away at 83

Pandit Birju Maharaj was under dialysis treatment as he had been suffering from a kidney ailment.

The Kathak legend was also a singer with command over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazal as well as a drummer and was fond of playing Tabla and Naal, according to his official website.

“Extremely saddened by the news about the passing away of Legendary Kathak Dancer- Pandit Birju Maharaj ji. We have lost an unparalleled institution in the field of the performing arts. He has influenced many generations through his genius. May he rest in peace,” singer Adnan Sami tweeted.

“India has lost a jewel,” tweeted filmmaker Ashoke Pandit.