WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI, Dec 12 � Sitar maestro and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, described by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a �national treasure�, died in a US hospital just a few days after a heart valve replacement surgery. He was 92, reports IANS
He had been admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, San Diego, near his home after he complained of breathing difficulties.
�Shankar had suffered from upper respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery (Dec 6). Though the surgery was successful, recovery proved too difficult for the 92-year-old musician,� the Ravi Shankar Foundation said in a statement.
He breathed his last at 4.30 p.m. Pacific Time Tuesday.
He is survived by his wife Sukanya Rajan and daughters Anoushka and Norah Jones, and three grandchildren. He also had a son, Shubhendra Shankar, from his first wife Annapurna Devi. Shubhendra died in 1992.
Sukanya and Anoushka were by his side when the end came.
�As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years. On Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life.
�Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away,� they said in a statement.
Manmohan Singh described his death as the passing away of an era. He said in New Delhi Wednesday that Shankar was a �national treasure and global ambassador of India�s cultural heritage�.
�The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility,� the Prime Minister�s Office (PMO) said in a message on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Tributes poured in from others as well. Politicians, musicians, dancers and other artists remembered the legend that was Ravi Shankar.
His last public performance was just over a month ago in California, where despite failing health he performed with Anoushka, an accomplished sitarist.
Active till the end, the three-time Grammy Award winner had been nominated yet again.
According to his foundation, news that his album The Living Room Sessions, Part 1 received a 2013 Grammy nomination reached him just the night prior to his surgery.
From 1986 to 1992, he served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha.
The much awarded Shankar was given India�s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999.