Bollywood playback singer Manna Dey dies at age 94

NEW DELHI (AP) — Famed playback singer Manna Dey, who recorded nearly 4,000 songs and can be heard in scores of Bollywood films, died in a Bangalore hospital early Thursday. He was 94.

Dey was hospitalized in May and was being treated for a kidney infection when his organs failed, said K. Vasuki, an official of the Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences. Dey's deep voice and mastery in singing classical music-based songs enthralled millions of music lovers. He started his singing career in 1942.

He sang mainly in Hindi and Bengali languages and his peak period was 1953-1980. He also lent his voice to songs in several Indian regional languages — Bengali, Assamese, Gujrati and Malayalam. He can be heard on scores of Bollywood films and their soundtracks, and his stage shows were very popular across India.

His death was being mourned by millions of fans. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted his condolences, saying "Strange how we connect events of our life with his songs." India's President Pranab Mukherjee said the country "has lost a veteran playback singer, a versatile artist of extraordinary ability and a creative genius who mesmerized listeners with his enchanting voice."

The Indian government honored Dey with the top civilian Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2007. Dey is survived by two daughters. His wife, Sulochana Kumaran, died last year.

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