Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, 88, died at his music centre in San Francisco, U.S., on Friday after a prolonged kidney ailment. He was on dialysis and ailing for over four years and his condition deteriorated in the last four months.
A recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the Ustad was a colossus in the world of Indian classical music for the last five decades. He is survived by his wife Mary, three sons and a daughter.
Khan was the first musician to take Indian classical music to the west. He was admired by both eastern as well as western musicians for his brilliant compositions and his mastery of the 25-string Sarod.
The illustrious son of Ustad Alauddin Khan was the first to cut a long play record of Indian classical music in the U.S. and to give a Sarod recital on American TV.
The Ustad was also the first Indian musician to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1991. He was nominated for Grammy Awards five times between 1970 and 1998.