Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish over the sudden death of Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj.
In his tweet, Modi acknowledged Pandit Birju Maharaj's remarkable contribution to the Indian dance form. "Extremely saddened after learning about the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj, who gave Indian art a special recognition across the globe. It's an irreparable loss to the entire art world. My heartfelt condolences to his family and fans. Om Shanti," he tweeted.
Maharaj-ji, as he was popularly known, died surrounded by his family on January 17 after suffering breathlessness. He was 83.
Reportedly, the Kathak exponent had been suffering from a kidney ailment and was under treatment for the past one month.
According to reports, the Kathak maestro was playing with his grandsons on January 16 at his home in Delhi when his health deteriorated.
After being taken to the hospital, he was declared dead.
Ace Bollywood actor and dancer Madhuri Dixit remembered her long time guru and friend Pt Birju Maharaj fondly and said, ““He was a legend but had a child like innocence. He was my guru but also my friend. He taught me the intricacies of dance and Abhinay but never failed to make me laugh at his funny anecdotes. He has left behind grieving fans and students but also left a legacy we will all carry forward. Thank you Maharajji for everything you taught me in dance along with humility, elegance and grace.”