Singer Akbar Ali Gazi, who burst into stardom after making an appearance on a TV show 19 years ago, has died in hospital care after a years-long battle with severe diabetes and kidney-related problems.
Kaniz Fatema, the bereaved wife of Akbar, confirmed that he died at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical Hospital around 3 pm on Sunday.
Akbar’s infected right leg was amputated recently and he had been on life support, said Kaniz.
She also said her husband had to forgo performing on the stage as his kidney-related issues worsened five years ago and since then, the self-taught singer from Jashore has been in and out of hospitals.
After learning about Akbar’s complications and subsequent struggle to pay off mounting medical bills, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to his aid, issuing savings certificates worth Tk 2.2 million for his treatment. Akbar was supported by his celebrity peers and other social dignitaries as well.
Akbar, a rickshaw-puller before he found fame, was called to perform on ‘Ittadi’, an immensely popular show on BTV, in 2003 after he was spotted by a viewer while performing on the stage of Jashore MM College.
Even before he performed in front of a national audience, Akbar was a household name in the division as a naturally-gifted singer, who did not have the chance to receive proper training.
Akbar performances of Kishore Kumar's songs 'Ekdin Pakhi Ude' and 'Tomar Hatapakhar Bata Se' on Ittadi made him immensely popular.