Kochi, Aug 1 (IANS) Popular Malayalam Ghazal singer Umbayee passed away on Wednesday evening in a hospital here, said State Culture Minister A.K. Balan. Umbayee, 66, was suffering from cancer.
With almost two dozen music albums to his credit, Umbayee rejected several offers from the film industry during his lifetime.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid rich tributes to Umbayee and said he would always be remembered for taking the Ghazal into the hearts of the common man for almost four decades.
“His death is an irreparable loss to the music lovers,” said Vijayan.
State Congress President M.M. Hassan said the gap left by the demise of ‘Prince’ of Malayalam Ghazal will just be difficult to fill.
Umbayee’s last rites will be held here on Thursday.
Born in 1952 in Mattanchery, Umbayee’s real name was Abu Ibrahim. His father, who did not approve of his career in music, sent him to Bombay to become an electrician. In a chance meeting, he met Ustad Munawar Ali Khan there and under his mentorship for seven years, Umbayee became a Ghazal artiste.