Indian artist Birju Maharaj dies at 83
Birju Maharaj, India’s best-known classical dance artist and performer, has died in New Delhi at the age of 83.
Maharaj, who suffered from kidney disease, died on Monday morning.
His grandson, Swaransh Mishra, announced the death on social media. His family said he may have died of cardiac arrest, his family told national media.
Maharaj was considered the best exponent of the classical Indian dance form Kathak, which can be seen in many Bollywood films.
He has also won numerous awards including India’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.
The legend was born in the northern town of Handia in 1938 and started performing at an early age.
Over the course of six decades, he became one of Kathak’s leading dancers and helped popularize the dance form in Bollywood.
Maharaj has choreographed exquisite dance sequences and also composed music for popular Hindi films.
Tributes poured in from members of the Indian entertainment industry in Mumbai as well as Indian leaders after news of his death was announced.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said his death marked “the end of an era”.
“It leaves a deep void in the Indian musical and cultural space.
“He has become an icon, making an unprecedented contribution to popularizing Kathak around the world,” he said.