Legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who had been undergoing treatment at the MGM Healthcare hospital in Chennai after testing positive for COVID-19 on August 5, passed away on Friday after a long battle with the novel coronavirus. Earlier, the six-time National Award-winning singer was making steady progress in his recovery until last week, with doctors at the hospital issuing a statement on Thursday saying SPB's health had "deteriorated further warranting maximum life support" and that he had become "extremely critical". The singer-actor continued to remain on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), including other life support measures. 

Prior to the 74-year-old's passing away on September 25, MGM Healthcare hospital has now issued a statement on his COVID-19 report saying the iconic singer had become COVID-19 negative before his death. The latest report published at 11.28 AM has confirmed that SP Balasubrahmanyam had tested COVID-19 negative before his death, but passed away after his health condition had worsened owing to the virus' toll on his body. 

Millions of SPB's fans around the world including celebrities and reputed personalities from various walks of life had been praying for his recovery and the news of his death has come as a massive shock. Upon learning that the singer's health was extremely critical and on maximum life support, SPB's wife Savithri, sister Shailaja, daughter Pallavi and son SP Charan were at the hospital on Thursday evening, with Kamal Haasan and Bharathiraja also paying a visit to comfort them. A large number of police personnel had been assembled in front of the MGM hospital in order to avoid any untoward incidents through the night. 

SPB, who made his singing debut in 1966 with the Telugu film Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, went on to become an instant singing sensation and one of the most prolific names Indian cinema had ever seen. His first breakthrough in Tamil came in 1969 when he sang the song 'Aayiram Nilave Vaa' for MGR's Adimai Penn, composed by MS Viswanathan. Soon after, there was no turning back and he became one of the most sought-after names across all industries. His collaborations with MSV and 'Maestro' Ilaiyaraaja made him a legend and partnered for all films under the composers throughout the 1980s. He subsequently went on to create an undisputed record in 1981 when he recorded 21 songs in a single day, which still continues to remain unbroken. 

Apart from singing, SP Balasubrahmanyam also carved a niche for himself as a talented actor having starred in films like Manathil Uruthi Vendum, Thiruda Thiruda, Kadhalan, Minsara Kanavu, and Moone Moonu Varthai to name a few, while also appearing in lead roles in ventures like Keladi Kanmani and Sigaram. He has also served as a voice actor after dubbing for superstars like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Mohanlal in Telugu, and for Anil Kapoor and Balakrishna in Tamil.

Having sung over 40,000 songs across 16 Indian languages over the course of his illustrious career, SPB also holds the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer. He was also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and Padma Shri in 2001 from the Government of India. He is survived by his wife Savithri and two children - daughter Pallavi and son SPB Charan.