Critically ill legendary singer Mehdi Hassan put on ventilator

‘India-born legendary Ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan was today put on a ventilator at a private clinic in Pakistan’s Sindh’s provincial capital Karachi after he collapsed due to respiratory problems.

84-year-old Hassan has been ill for the last few years due to a serious lung condition that has led to complications and breathing problems.

“He is still in the ICU and doctors are looking after him round the clock. All we can do now is pray for him and hope Allah gives him life,” said Hassan’s son, Asif Mehdi himself a singer.

The legendary singer, who was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in Rajasthan in 1927 and the voice behind evergreen ghazals like Ab ke bichade and Patta patta boota boota, had recently lost his voice due to his illness.

Asif said the doctors after analysing his condition put the ailing singer on a a ventilator. They conducted Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans and blood tests of the veteran singer.’

‘Doctors said Hassan is suffering from chest and urine infection.

“He had trouble in breathing (on Tuesday). We immediately rushed him to the hospital. He is in ICU but there is no positive response from the doctors about his condition,” Arif told PTI.

Hassan, who has been suffering from lung problems for the past twelve years, was on Tuesday night rushed to Karachi’s Agha Khan hospital’s ICU section.

Asif said that his father had been in very poor health for the last two years and the family had been feeding him through the tube because of his illness.

“We have been feeding him through tube for the past two years and for the past one month, he has even lost his voice, which mesmerized millions of his fans,” he added.

Arif said his father always wanted to visit India for treatment. He said the legendary singer had been due to leave for India for treatment but doctors ruled out any travel due to his bad condition.

“He wanted to visit India, his birth country, and we were supposed to be there last year but his condition never improved. Now the doctors have strictly said no to any journey,” he said.

Facing a cash crunch for his treatment, the family of the legendary singer has appealed to the Pakistan government for some help.

“We have to pay Rs 45 lakh to the hospital. Government has publicly promised to bear all the expenses of his treatment and we are relying on them. I am hopeful that people will come forward to help,” Arif said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other government officials have visited the legendary singer at his residence in recent times but Asif said financial help had been slow in coming from the government.

“We just want that the government atleast make his medical treatment free for the rest of his life,” he said. Hassan remains a hugely popular Ghazal singer in the Indian sub-continent because of his background as a gharana trained classical singer. He cut back on his performances in the late 80s due to illness.

Born in Rajasthan, his family migrated to Pakistan during Partition.

The singer last performed in India in 2000. He wanted to visit India in 2010 for treatment and wished to meet Lata Mangeshkar, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.

The visit could not take place and his earlier planned visit in 2008 was also cancelled in wake of Mumbai terror attack.

Arif earlier said singers Hariharan and Hansraj Hans besides filmmaker Gulzar have inquired about his father’s health over phone.’



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