The voice of a generation, singer Krishnakumar Kunnath died at the age of 53 on Tuesday night. Popularly known as KK, the singer is suspected to have suffered a cardiac arrest, according to news agency PTI. He was rushed to the hospital after falling ill in his Kolkata hotel room, shortly after performing a live gig at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium.
KK had announced the Kolkata gig last week, in a self-shot video posted on Instagram. “I hope to see you soon, and let’s rock together,” he signed off in his message. The singer had performed live in Pune three days ago. He had shared pictures from the gig on Instagram, writing, “So much fun with the BMS crowd from ZS in Pune last night. Great weather and a high energy audience made it special!!!”
On Monday, he had posted a picture from the Mumbai airport, expressing his excitement about travelling to Kolkata. Posing with his crew and band members, he threw a thumbs up sign and wore a mask. “Enroute Kolkata selfie!” he captioned the post.
Later in the day, he began sharing Instagram Stories from the Kolkata performance. He appeared on stage, wearing a plain T-shirt, as he performed tracks such as “Aankhon Mein Teri,” “Khuda Jaane,” “Aashayein” and “Make Some Noise For The Desi Boyz.” Later, he shared pictures from what would be his final performance, and wrote, “Pulsating gig tonight at Nazrul Mancha. Vivekananda College!! Love you all.”
The concert continued till 8:30 pm. He suddenly fell ill and returned to his hotel. When his condition deteriorated, he was rushed to the CMRI hospital in Kolkata, where he was declared dead. According to some audience members who attended the concert on Tuesday, the indoor Nazrul Mancha auditorium was overcrowded and the air-conditioning was not working properly. A visibly sweating KK was feeling the heat on stage, and had even asked the organisers to dim the spotlights on him. He is also said to have complained to the organisers about crowding around the stage.
He was “feeling heavy” after reaching his hotel, and soon collapsed, officials told PTI. The same report cited a doctor as saying, “KK was brought to the hospital around 10 pm. It’s unfortunate that we could not treat him.”
A post-mortem is expected to be conducted today. Condolences poured in from all quarters. PM Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and scores of entertainment industry personalities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Sonu Nigam, Harshdeep Kaur, and Vishal Dadlani paid tribute to him.
He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. The singer’s family is expected to arrive in Kolkata today.