New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed deep condolences at the demise of track legend Milkha Singh and said India lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation's imagination.
Singh passed away at 11.30 pm on Friday night at the age of 91. He had tested positive for COVID-19 in May this year.
"In the passing away of Shri Milkha Singh Ji, we have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation's imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. His inspiring personality endeared himself to millions. Anguished by his passing away," the Prime Minister Tweeted.
"I had spoken to Shri Milkha Singh Ji just a few days ago. Little did I know that it would be our last conversation. Several budding athletes will derive strength from his life journey. My condolences to his family and many admirers all over the world," he said in another Tweet.
Earlier today, the bereaved family informed about the death of the former Indian Sprinter, also known as the Flying Sikh, in a statement.
"It is with extreme sadness that we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh Ji passed away. He fought hard but God has his ways and it was perhaps true love and companionship that both our mother Nirmal Ji and now Dad have passed away in a matter of 5 days," the family said.
The former Indian sprinter had tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was in isolation at his home in Chandigarh before he was admitted to the ICU of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) hospital in Chandigarh.
In a statement, PGIMER informed that Milkha Singh was admitted to the ICU of COVID Hospital of PGIMER on June 3.
"He was treated for COVID there till June 13 when after putting up a valiant battle with COVID, Milkha Singh Ji tested negative. However, due to post- Covid complications, he was shifted out of COVID Hospital to medical ICU. But despite the best of efforts by the medical team, Milkha Singh ji could not be retrieved from his critical condition and after a brave fight, he left for his heavenly abode at 11.30 pm on 18th June 2021 here at PGIMER," the Hospital said.
Singh's wife and former Captain of the Indian Women National Volleyball team, Nirmal Milkha Singh succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 85 on June 13.
The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold-medallist and 1958 Commonwealth Games champion. He is still the only Indian athlete to win Gold in the Asian and Commonwealth Championship. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honor, in recognition of his sporting achievements.
He is survived by one son and three daughters. His son Jeev Milkha Singh is also a renowned Golfer. (ANI)