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Ghazal king Mehdi Hassan passes away

Karachi: India-born Ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan, the melodious voice behind evergreen hits like `Patta patta, boota boota` and `Kab ke Bichhare`, died today following multiple organ failure at the age of 84.

Hassan, who had millions of fans in India and Pakistan, had been admitted to the Agha Khan Hospital in the southern port city of Karachi some days ago. He had been in a serious condition and was on ventilator.

"My father passed away at 12:22 PM after a long battle against different ailments," his son Arif Hassan said. Hundreds of fans gathered at the hospital on learning of his death.

Hassan was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in India`s Rajasthan state in 1927. His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947. Hassan cut back on his performances in the late 1980s due to illness.

Prime Minister Gilani expressed grief and sorrow at the death of Hussan. In a message, he said Hassan was "an icon who mesmerised music lovers not only in Pakistan but also in the subcontinent for many decades."

Hassan, who last performed in India in 2000, wanted to visit the country again, a dream which remained unfulfilled. Arif had even received the visa in April for Hassan`s treatment in an Indian hospital but they could not travel as singer`s condition deteriorated.

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