Track legend Milkha Singh passes away at 91

Milkha Singh had tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was initially in  isolation at his home in Chandigarh before being admitted to the ICU of PGIMER hospital in Chandigarh. His wife, Nirmal Milkha Singh succumbed to COVID-19 on June 13. She was 85. 

Created On: Jun 19, 2021 10:00 ISTModified On: Jun 19, 2021 10:00 IST
Legendary sprinter Milkha Singh passes away

Track legend Milkha Singh passed away on June 18, 2021 due to post-COVID complications.He had tested positive for COVID-19 in May 2021. He was 91. 

Milkha Singh's family confirmed the news with an official statement that read, "It is with extreme sadness that we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh Ji passed away at 11.30 pm on the 18th of June 2021." 

The family said that the "legendary sprinter had 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 5 days."

The family expressed deep gratitude to the doctors at PGI for their valiant efforts and for the love and prayers they received from across the world. 

Hospital's statement 

PGIMER informed in an official statement, "Milkha Singh was admitted to the COVID ICU on June 3. He was treated for COVID there till June 13. After putting up a valiant battle with COVID, Milkha Singh Ji tested negative. However, due to post- Covid complications, he had to be shifted out of COVID Hospital to medical ICU. But despite best of 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 pm on 18th June 2021 here at PGIMER."

Milkha Singh had tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was initially in  isolation at his home in Chandigarh before being admitted to the ICU of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) hospital in Chandigarh.

His wife, Nirmal Milkha Singh succumbed to COVID-19 on June 13. She was 85. He is now survived by one son, Jeev Milkha Singh (a renowned golfer) and three daughters.

Cremation details

Milkha Singh's mortal remains are currently kept at his Chandigarh residence. The cremation will reportedly take place at 5 pm today in Chandigarh with full state honours.

End of an Era: Nation pays homage to track icon

India lost a colossal sportsperson said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while paying tribute to the legendary sprinter.  His tweet read, "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."

President Ram Nath Kovind also paid tributes to the sports icon with a tweet, "The passing of sporting icon Milkha Singh fills my heart with grief. The story of his struggles and strength of character will continue to inspire generations of Indians. My deepest condolences to his family members, and countless admirers."

WCD Minister Smriti Irani tweeted saying that an era comes to an end as the ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh ji bids adieu to the world. She tweeted, "A legendary sprinter, he was the epitome of dedication, humility & National glory. Milkha Singh Ji’s inspirational journey & contribution to Indian sports will be remember forever. "

Farhan Akhtar, who portrayed the legendary Milkha Singh in the film " Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" penned a long post paying his tribute to the sporting legend. The actor tweeted saying that the sports icon represented a dream how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. His tweet read,  You have touched all our lives. For tgose who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn't as a constant source of inspiration and reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart."

Punjab CM, Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted saying that Milkha Singh's demise marks the end of an era and India & Punjab are poorer today. He paid his condolences to the bereaved family & millions of fans and said that the legend of the Flying Sikh will reverberate for generations to come.

India's Flying Sikh: All you need to know about his track & field achievments

• Captain Milkha Singh also known as The Flying Sikh, was an Indian track and field sprinter who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. 

• He is the only athlete to win gold in 400m at the Asian Games and in the Commonwealth Games. The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold-medallist and 1958 Commonwealth Games champion. 

• He had represented India in the Olympics three times- 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

• He is best remembered for the race in which he finished fourth in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games. He had entered as one of the favourites in the race. 

• Singh's finish time in the race -45.73 seconds was the Indian national record for almost 40 years.

• Milkha Singh has been described as one of the finest athletes India has ever produced on many occasions. As a child, he had been displaced during the Partition of India. His parents, a brother and two sisters were killed in the violence during Partition. 

• He had moved to Delhi, India in 1947 to escape the troubles in Punjab, Pakistan. He lived with his married sister's family for a short time. He later spent time at a refugee camp in Purana Qila and at a resettlement colony in Shahdara.

• He was later persuaded by a brother, Malkhan, to attempt recruitment to the Indian Army and he successfully gained entrance on his fourth attempt in 1951.

• He was introduced to athletics while being stationed at the Electrical Mechanical Engineering Centre in Secunderabad and was selected by the army for special training in athletics after finishing sixth in a compulsory cross-country run for new recruits.

• He had been honoured with the Padma Shri in 1959, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

Awards

Medal

Event

Category

Gold 1958 Asian Games 200 M
Gold 1958 Asian Games 400 M
Gold 1958 Commonwealth Games 440 Yards
Gold 1962 Asian Games 400 M
Gold 1962 Asian Games 4X400 M Relay
Silver 1964 Calcutta National Games 400 M

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