CHENNAI: Legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam is in critical condition and on life support, according to a statement released on Friday by the private hospital in which he is being treated.
The 74-year-old singer was diagnosed with COVID-19 on August 5 but had been stable. He even shared a video recently to reassure well-wishers that he would be discharged soon.
However, on Friday, MGM Healthcare, where he is admitted, said that he had been moved to the ICU due to the critical condition of his health and that he is on life support now.
"There has been a setback in the health of SP Balasubrahmanyam who had been admitted at MGM Healthcare for symptoms of COVID since August 5. In a late-night development on August 13, his condition deteriorated," said Dr Anuradha Baskaran, assistant director medical services, MGM Healthcare, Chennai.
"On the advice of the expert medical team attending to him, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is on life support and his condition remains critical," she said.
The 74-year-old is currently under the observation of a team of experts from critical care and his haemodynamic and clinical parameters are being closely monitored.
Later in the evening, as rumours started circulating, the singer’s son S P Charan shared a statement acknowledging that his father was in a critical condition.
"SPB is critical but is in safe hands at MGM healthcare. We are all confident that SPB Will be back with all of us sooner than later. Thank you all for your concern and prayers," he said.
Late Friday night, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabasker said that he had spoken to Charan and the hospital and assured the family of the State government’s assistance if required.
Balasubrahmanyam is a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. He is a six-time winner of the National Film Awards.
Born in Nellore, he made his debut as a playback singer in 1966 and has sung over 40,000 tracks in several languages, predominantly in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi. He has also acted in around 70 films in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.
The sudden plunge in the singer's health put many fans and members of the film fraternity in despair, with several taking to social media to offer prayers for his recovery.
Music director and frequent collaborator A R Rahman urged all music fans to join him in praying for “this legend.....he has given us so much joy with his amazing voice!” he tweeted.
Dhanush, Khushbu, Keerthy Suresh, Chinmayi Sripada, Shekar Kapur, Boney Kapoor and Harsha Bhogle are among the celebrities who wished him a speedy recovery.
Music composer Ilayaraja shared a heart-felt video that went viral on social media, where he urged his friend, "Balu" to come back quickly.
“I am waiting for you. Our life doesn't end with cinema, nor did it begin with cinema. The music that we started together in some stage events has become our life and an important foundation for life. … just as how music and swarams are inextricably tied, our friendship has never come apart.
When we fought it was friendship and when we didn't it was friendship. You and I both know this well. My instincts tell me you will recover and I pray to god that it happens,” he said, alluding to the dispute between them a few years ago.
“Balu, come quickly,” he added.