SP Balasubrahmanyam, the famous playback singer who sung over 40,000 songs in several languages in a career spanning 54 years, died on Friday at the age of 74 due to coronavirus complications. His loss has been mourned by film stars, politicians and sporting personalities all over India. His contribution to the film industry in a five-decade career has been path-breaking. But, did you also know that he was a savior to one of India’s finest sporting personalities in history?
Not many people know this, but SP Balasubrahmanyam was responsible for saving the chess career of five-time world champions Viswanathan Anand. It was during the 1983 Indian National Team Chess Championships and Anand was playing for the Madras Colts team.
Unfortunately, the squad ran out of sponsorship money and their participation in the tournament was uncertain. However, SP Balasubrahmanyam chipped in at the last minute and donated money to the team. On that team, Viswanathan Anand was stated to play and he created history when he defeated International Master Manuel Aaron, then India’s top player at the age of 13.
From that tournament, Anand won the National Junior Championships, Asian Junior Championships, World Junior Chess title before becoming the first Chess Grandmaster from India. Anand also recollected the contribution of SPB in his Tweet when he tweeted from his official handle. “Really sad to hear about the passing away of such a great yet simple person. He was my first sponsor! He sponsored our team Chennai Colts in the national team championship in 1983. One of the nicest persons I have met. His music gave us such joy,” Anand tweeted.
SPB Charan, SP Balasubrahmanyam’s son came and announced at the gates of the hospital that SP Balasubrahmanyam passed away at 1:04 pm today and thanked all those who prayed for the singer’s recovery.
In a new medical bulletin and a health update on SP Balasubrahmanyam on Thursday, it was confirmed that the veteran singer is under maximal life support and extremely critical. MGM Healthcare had said in a health bulletin, “Thiru S P Balasubrahmanyam who had been admitted at MGM Healthcare on August 5, remains on ECM° and other life support measures. His condition in the last 24 hours has deteriorated further warranting maximal life support and he is extremely critical. The team of experts at MGM Healthcare is closely monitoring his health condition,” said Dr. Anuradha Baskaran, Assistant Director – Medical Services MGM Healthcare.