The achievements of sprint legend Milkha Singh, popularly known as the “Flying Sikh”, will always make the citizens of this country proud, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Saturday, expressing grief over the athlete’s demise.
The void created in the world of sports by his death will be difficult to fill, he added.
Milkha Singh died on Friday after a month-long battle with COVID-19, during which he lost his former national volleyball captain wife Nirmal Kaur to the same ailment.
The Padma Shri awardee was 91 and is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.
“He breathed his last at 11.30 pm,” a family spokesperson had told PTI in Chandigarh.
His condition had turned critical after he developed complications, including fever and dipping oxygen saturation levels, after a bout with COVID-19, in the Intensive Care Unit of the PGIMER hospital in the UT of Chandigarh.
He had contracted COVID-19 last month and tested negative for the virus on Wednesday, when he was shifted to the general ICU in another block of the hospital.
Milkha Singh had been “stable” before Thursday evening.
His 85-year-old wife, who had also been infected by the virus, passed away at a private hospital in Mohali on Sunday.
Milkha Singh was admitted to the PGIMER on June 3 after his oxygen levels dipped at home following treatment at the Fortis hospital in Mohali for a week.
The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold medallist and the 1958 Commonwealth Games champion, but his greatest performance remains the fourth-place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics.
He also represented India in the 1956 and the 1964 Olympics and was bestowed the Padma Shri in 1959.