Pre-eminent folk singer and Ekushey Padak-awardee Fakir Alamgir, whose songs became entwined in the everyday lives of his countrymen, lost his battle with the coronavirus on Friday night, passing away in the capital's United Hospital after his condition deteriorated in the evening.
The beloved singer breathed his last at 10:56pm in the hospital's ICU, where he was receiving treatment for over a week. He was 71.
Mashuque Alamgir Rajeeb, son of Fakir Alamgir, confirmed the death to UNB.
Also read: Fakir Alamgir on life support
The folk legend was put on life support last Sunday, having been admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital since the early hours of the previous Friday. But his condition took an irrevocable turn for the worse today following a heart attack in the evening.
Details regarding his last rites are expected to be revealed in due course by his family.
Born on a famous and most fitting date (February 21, 1950 - pre-empting the Language Movement by a couple of years) in a village called Kalamridha in Bhanga of Faridpur,
Fakir Alamgir stepped into the music arena in 1966.
Not afraid to use his platform as an artist, he played a vital role during the mass uprising of 1969 as a member of the Kranti Shilpi Gosthi and Gana Shilpi Gosthi. During the 1971 Liberation War, he crossed the border and joined the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra and performed frequently to inspire freedom fighters.
In independent Bangladesh, Alamgir played a pivotal role in the development of Bengali pop music alongside Ferdous Wahid, Azam Khan, Pilu Momtaz and others who led a generation of artists in shedding conventions to combine elements of indigenous music with contemporary western imports.
In his illustrious career, several of his songs including "O Sokhina", "Shantahar", "Nelson Mandela", "Naam Tar Chhilo John Henry", "Banglar Comrade Bondhu", to name just a few, became very popular and achieved monumental success.
They allowed him to attain ubiquitous name-recognition, and even enjoy an almost direct, one-to-one relationship with his fanbase. Arguably no other Bangladeshi male artist would be as instantly recognisable in almost any corner of the country as Fakir Alamgir, with his unruly, flowing shock of hair and Seventies moustache.
A Master's graduate of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism in Dhaka University, Fakir Alamgir was also a keen writer and researcher. He published several books including 'Gono Sangeet er Oteet O Bortoman', 'Muktijuddher Smriti o Bijoyer Gaan', 'Amar Kotha', 'Jara Achhen Hridoypotey' and more.
He was also the founder of the cultural organization 'Wrishiz Shilpi Gosthi' in 1976, and served as the president of Gono Sangeet Shamanya Parishad (GSSP).
The government conferred the Ekushey Padak on Fakir Alamgir in 1999, for his significant contribution to music, and thereby the cultural arena of Bangladesh.
Fakir Alamgir is survived by his wife and two sons, and leaves behind a sea of admirers to mourn the passing of one who spoke directly to their hearts.