PM Narendra Modi condoled the demise of Milkha Singh after the legendary sprinter breathed his last on Friday night following a prolonged battle with COVID-19. Modi described him as a “colossal sportsperson who captured the nation’s imagination.”
“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,” tweeted Modi minutes after Milkha’s death.
“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 further wrote.
The 91-year-old, who was shifted out of COVID ICU on Wednesday, developed fever and his condition turned critical due to dipping oxygen saturation levels. The Padma Shri awardee was 91 and is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.
The sprint icon had contracted COVID-19 last month and tested negative for the virus on Wednesday when he was shifted to general ICU in another block of the PGIMER hospital.
Sports Authority of India (SAI) expressed immense sadness at the demise of one of India’s greatest ever sportspersons ‘The Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh.
“A gold medalist at the CWG & Asian Games, he held the 400m National record for 38 years. Condolences to his family & the millions whom he inspired,” the SAI said in a tweet.
Milkha’s 85-year-old wife Nirmal, who had also been infected by the COVID-19 virus, passed away at a private hospital in Mohali on Sunday.
Widely regarded as ‘Flying Sikh’, Milkha’s greatest performance remains the fourth-place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics. He also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics.