Condolences poured in from political leaders across party lines on the demise of legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh, who died at age 91 due to post- Covid complications.
Singh, 91, passed away at 11:30 pm on Friday night in Chandigarh. He had tested positive for COVID-19 in May this year.
Taking to Twitter, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Milkha Singh was also a wonderful person who contributed to sports till his last breath.
"Shri Milkha Singh was one of the finest athletes and a sporting legend. He made the country proud with his achievements. He was also a wonderful person who contributed to sports till his last breath. I'm saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti!" the Defence Minister tweeted.
Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment said that the former athlete would forever remain an inspiration. He tweeted, "Sad to hear about the passing away of legendary Indian sprinter Sardar #MilkhaSingh. He will always remain an inspiration for all. Om Shanti."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that Milkha Singh was not just a sports star but a source of inspiration for millions of Indians for his dedication and resilience.
"Shri Milkha Singh ji was not just a sports star but a source of inspiration for millions of Indians for his dedication and resilience. My condolences to his family and friends. India remembers her #FlyingSikh," the Wayanad MP tweeted.
Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram said Singh's death was a painful loss to the nation.
"Grieving the passing away of The legendary Milkha Singh, who incarnated athletics for millions of Indians. "The Flying Sikh" captured the nation's imagination w/ his life story, his exploits on the track & his strength of character. A painful national loss. OmShanti," he tweeted.
Calling Singh a guiding star for the aspiring athletes of the nation, MP from Bathinda, Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted, "Heartbroken to hear of #MilkhaSingh Ji's demise. The nation has lost a legend, but he will live on in our hearts and in history, and be the guiding star for millions of aspiring athletes. May Gurusahab bless the soul."
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath also took to Twitter to pay regards to the legend. His tweet in Hindi read, "The demise of 'Flying Sikh' Shri Milkha Singh Ji, a well-known sprinter, honoured with 'Padma Shri', is an irreparable loss to the sports world. His life is a great inspiration for the nation. May Lord Shri Ram grant the departed soul a place in his supreme abode and strength to the bereaved family members to bear this loss. Peace!"
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also joined the leader to condole the death of the 'Flying Sikh'. "Saddened at the demise of 'Flying Sikh' Captain Milkha Singh. His laurels had not only made India swell with pride but also inspired generations of sports enthusiasts. My condolences to his family. Om Shanti!" he tweeted.
Vice President of Jammu Kashmir National Conference, Omar Abdullah tweeted, "A man whose legendary achievements are only dwarfed by his humility & his determination, has left a mark that will forever inspire generations of athletes & sportspersons. #RIPMilkhaSinghji"
Earlier, the bereaved family informed about the death of the former Indian Sprinter, also known as the Flying Sikh, in a statement.
"It is with extreme sadness that we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh Ji passed away. He 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 said.
The former Indian sprinter had tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was in isolation at his home in Chandigarh before he was admitted to the ICU of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) hospital in Chandigarh.
In a statement, PGIMER informed that Milkha Singh was admitted to the ICU of COVID Hospital of PGIMER on June 3.
"He was treated for COVID there till June 13 when after putting up a valiant battle with COVID, Milkha Singh Ji tested negative. However, due to post- Covid complications, he was shifted out of COVID Hospital to medical ICU. But despite the 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," the Hospital said.
The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold-medallist and 1958 Commonwealth Games champion. He is still the only Indian athlete to win Gold in the Asian and Commonwealth Championship. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honor, in recognition of his sporting achievements.
He is survived by one son and three daughters. His son Jeev Milkha Singh is also a renowned Golfer.
Singh's wife and former Captain of the Indian Women National Volleyball team, Nirmal Milkha Singh succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 85 on June 13.