Shillong Chamber Choir founder Neil Nongkynrih died in Mumbai on Wednesday, PTI reported. He was 51.

Nongkynrih died at the Reliance Hospital in the city after a brief illness. He along with the rest of the choir had been in Mumbai for the past three months.

“He was admitted to the hospital yesterday and passed away in the evening today after a surgery,” PTI quoted a spokesperson for the group as saying.

The spokesperson said that Nongkynrih’s body will be taken to his home in Shillong as soon as the formalities in Mumbai are completed. His funeral details will be communicated later, said the Shillong Chamber Choir.

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“Uncle Neil was the life force of our world, a towering personality whose music, through the choir he so fondly nurtured, reached the ears of presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors and some of the biggest names in the worlds of sports, culture, business, music and film,” the choir said.

The group said that the composer drew “from the music of his land and his own vast experience in the Western classical tradition”, and brought delight to millions of listeners in India.

The music composer was awarded the Padma Shri in 2015. He had also received the U Tirot Sing Award for young achievers in 2011, and was named the Forbes Person of the Year in 2010-’11, according to East Mojo.

Nongkynrih was named as a member of the Central Board of Film Certification in 2017, and he remained a member till his death.

The choir gained widespread popularity in 2010, when it won television reality show India’s Got Talent.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences at the composer’s death and said that his creativity will always be remembered.

“Mr. Neil Nongkynrih was an outstanding mentor to the Shillong Chamber Choir, which enthralled audiences globally,” he said. “I have also witnessed some of their superb performances. He left us too soon.”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also expressed sadness over Nongkynrih’s death.

Tributes poured in on social media.