Santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma died on Tuesday in Mumbai, The Indian Express reported. He was 84.

The santoor exponent had been suffering from kidney-related ailments for the past six months. He died due to a cardiac arrest, according to The Indian Express.

Sharma was recognised for using the santoor to play Hindustani classical music, popularising the instrument that was that had largely been used to play folk music in Kashmir.

The 1967 album Call of the Valley, a collaboration between Sharma, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and guitar player Brijbhushan Kabra, was one of the largest-selling Hindustani records of all time.

He also composed music with Chaurasia for Hindi films, including for Silsila (1981), Chandni (1989) and Lamhe (1991), among others. They were known as the Shiv-Hari music duo.

PM, musicians remember Sharma

Meanwhile, tributes poured in for the the Santoor maestro.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to Sharma’s family and admirers, saying that his music will “continue to enthral the coming generations”.

“Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji,” the prime minister wrote in a tweet. “He popularised the santoor at a global level.”


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Sad to know about the demise of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, eminent Santoor player and internationally celebrated Indian music composer. His departure impoverishes our cultural world. My deepest condolences.”

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot described Sharma’s demise a “huge loss to the world of Indian classical music”.

“May his family and admirers have the strength to bear this loss,” he added.

Grammy award-winning music composer Ricky Kej said Sharma was a “legend of not just classical music, but also mainstream film music”.

“He has left a huge void in the global music landscape, his music will echo in eternity,” Kej added.

Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan tweeted: “The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it’s a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever!”

Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas and veteran actor Shabana Azmi also condoled Sharma’s death. “We have lost a gem today Padma Vibhushan Shri Shiv Kumar Sharma ji Santoor virtuoso, a big loss to the Indian classical music,” Udhas said.

Many others paid tribute to the santoor maestro.