Legendary Santoor musician Pandit. Shivkumar Sharma, who garnered worldwide fame for his performances with the stringed instrument in classical and film music, passed away due to a heart attack in Mumbai on Tuesday. He was 84. Sharma died at his Pali residence in Mumbai between 8 and 8:30 a.m., his secretary Dinesh informed the news agency Press Trust of India (PTI). It is being stated that the celebrated santoor player was set to perform at Bhopal next week. A family source told PTI, "He had a severe heart attack in the morning... He was active and was to perform in Bhopal next week. He was on regular dialysis but was still was active," a family source told Press Trust of India. Sharma is survived by his wife Manorama and sons Rahul, also a santoor player, and Rohit.

Born in Jammu in 1938, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma is reportedly the first musician to perform Indian classical music on the santoor, which is a folk instrument played mostly in Jammu and Kashmir. He was also one-half of the Shiv-Hari musical duo and teamed up with iconic flute legend Pandit. Hari Prasad Chaurasia to compose songs and score for films like Chandni, Silsila, Lamhe and Darr. Sharma was felicitated with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, followed by the Padma Shri in 1991, before being awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. 

Condolences and tributes have been pouring in from all corners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was among those who paid their tributes upon hearing the news of Sharma's death. He tweeted, "Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti."

Likewise, Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan expressed his grief over Pt. Shivkumar Sharma's death and called his passing a "personal loss" for him. He wrote in his tweet, "The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of Santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it's a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever! Om Shanti."