New Delhi: Legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh, who was given the title Flying Sikh, breathed his last on Friday (June 19) after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He was 91 years old and had tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Expressing condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter, “In the passing away of Shri Milkha Singh Ji, we have lost a great sportsperson who captured the nation’s imagination and held a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. His inspiring personality made him the darling of millions. Saddened by his death.”
Milkha Singh was in the intensive care unit of PGIMER Hospital in Chandigarh. On Friday, the hospital issued a statement saying that his health had become critical as he developed complications, including fever and a drop in oxygen levels. Milkha, 91, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month, tested negative on Wednesday and was shifted to the general ICU in the second block of the hospital.
Earlier, Milkha, popularly known as ‘Flying Sikh’, had suddenly developed fever on Thursday night and his oxygen saturation level had dropped. Milkha was ‘stable’ earlier.
Milkha’s 85-year-old wife Nirmal Kaur, who was infected with the virus, died on Sunday at a private hospital in Mohali. Kaur was the former captain of the national women’s volleyball team.
After a week of treatment at Fortis Hospital in Mohali, Milkha was admitted to PGIMER on June 3 after the oxygen level at home dropped. The legendary athlete was a four-time Asian Games gold medalist and 1958 Commonwealth Games champion. His greatest performance was a fourth-place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics. He represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was awarded the Padma Shri in 1958.