Legendary athlete Milkha Singh passes away at 91
Chandigarh, June 18, 2021
Legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, 91, passed away at 11.30 pm on Friday, a statement from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research here said late tonight.
He was being treated in the hospital for Covid-related complications.
He was 91. He is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters.
Earlier in the day, his health condition had deteriorated with fever and desaturation.
"His condition has deteriorated with oxygen levels slipping," a doctor at the hospital had said.
His daughter, Mona Milkha Singh, who is also a doctor, was monitoring his health.
The legendary sprinter had contracted the coronavirus last month. His wife, Nirmal Milkha Singh, had succumbed to the virus on June 13. A former India volleyball captain, she was 85.
Milkha Singh was born in Layalpur, in undivided India and now in Pakistan. His love with athletics began after he enrolled himself with the EME Corps of the Indian Army.
"Legendary Indian Sprinter Shri Milkha Singh ji was admitted in the ICU of Covid Hospital of PGIMER on 3rd June 2021 and was treated for Covid there till 13th June when after putting up a valiant battle with Covid, Milkha Singh Ji tested negative," said Prof Ashok Kumar, official spokesperson, PGIMER, in a media statement after Milkha Singh passed away.
"However, due to post-Covid complications, he was shifted out of Covid Hospital to medical ICU. But despite best of the efforts by the medical team, Milkha Singh ji could not be retrieved from his critical condition and after a brave fight, he left for his heavenly abode at 11.30 p.m. on 18th June 2021, here at PGIMER," the statement said.
Milkha Singh's family also issued a statement after he passed away.
"He fought hard but God has his ways and it was perhaps true love and companionship that both our mother Nirmal ji and now dad have passed away in a matter of five days," the family statement read.
"We are deeply indebted to the doctors at PGI for their valiant efforts and the love and prayers we received from across the world and from yourselves. We Thank You," said the family.
Milkha became popular when he clocked 45.6 seconds to finish fourth at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. Until that time, it was the closest that an Indian athlete had come to winning an individual Olympic medal.
Later, of course, P.T. Usha missed a bronze by a whisker in 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. She clocked 55.42 seconds, and missed the bronze by a mere 0.01 seconds.
Decades later, a Bollywood film was made on Milkha Singh.
"Prof. Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER expresses his deepest condolences on the sad demise of this 'most revered' sporting icon, who will be remembered for his exceptional accomplishments on and off the field and his endearing and humane personality," said the PGIMER statement.