Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, credited with popularizing India's traditional music in the West, has died at a hospital in Southern California after heart-valve replacement surgery, his foundation and record label said. He was 92.
Shankar, father of Grammy-winning artist Norah Jones and sitar musician Anoushka Shankar, had suffered from respiratory and heart ailments over the past year and, though his last operation was a success, the recovery was too difficult for a patient his age, the press release said.
The artist, who died Tuesday, gained fame in the West in the late 1960s thanks to his friendship with Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison, who studied the sitar - a plucked stringed instrument used in traditional Indian music - under Shankar.
In 1969, Shankar traveled to the United States to deepen his knowledge of Western music and popularize the music of his homeland there. Two years later, he and the London Symphony Orchestra performed his Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra, conducted by Andre Previn.
Shankar won three Grammy awards and composed the score for films such as Indian director Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy and Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi," for which he received an Oscar nomination.
The artist lived in his latter years with his wife, Sukanya Rajan, in Encinitas, California, although he also maintained residences in India. EFE