Questions about the death of Indian singer KK shortly after the concert | Music News

Krishnakumar Kunnath, better known as KK, dies aged 53 following a concert in the city of Kolkata, prompting a flood of tributes – and questions.

Indian singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, better known as KK, has died after falling ill in the middle of a concert, with the incident raising questions over on-site arrangements.

Kunnath, 53, was performing to a packed auditorium in Kolkata, capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, on Tuesday night when he complained of being unwell.

He was rushed to hospital from his hotel around 10:30 p.m. local time (1700 GMT), where doctors pronounced him dead, local media reported.

Van carrying the body of Indian singer Krishnakumar Kunnath in Kolkata, India [Piyal Adhikary/EPA]

Tributes to the singer have poured in on social media, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several Bollywood singers and actors expressing their condolences.

“His songs reflected a wide range of emotions [they] struck a chord with people of all age groups. We will always remember him through his songs,” Modi said on Twitter.

Arrangement Questions

While the cause of the singer’s death remains unknown and an autopsy is expected later on Wednesday, questions are being raised about the arrangements made at the Nazrul Mancha Auditorium in Kolkata, where the air conditioning was not working properly.

In a report, Indian news channel NDTV said videos taken by fans at the concert showed the singer “sweating profusely as he took a break to wipe his face”.

“At one point, KK was seen gesturing to a man on stage and appeared to be talking about the air conditioning,” the report said.

Numerous social media outlets said the auditorium, which has a capacity of 2,400, was overcrowded.

West Bengal authorities have opened an investigation into the singer’s death.

Indian singer KK
KK at a concert in Mumbai [File: Sujit Jaiswal/AFP]

Aroop Biswas, a West Bengal government minister, said Kunnath died of “suspected cardiac arrest”.

But police said they were investigating whether he died an “unnatural death”, with media reporting injuries to his face and head.

“We are also talking with hotel authorities and reviewing CCTV footage to understand what happened before he was taken to hospital,” police official Sanjoy Mukherjee said.

‘Left too early’

Kunnath had sung several songs for Bollywood movies and music albums and frequently performed at live concerts.

Born in Delhi, the versatile singer has recorded songs in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali, among other languages.

His hits from the 2000s include “Aankhon mein teri” (In your eyes) from the film Om Shanti Om and “Khuda jaane” (God knows) from Bachna Ae Haseeno.

One of the Hindi songs he sang at his last concert included “Pal” (Moment) which has the lyrics “whether we live or not, we will remember this moment”.

“I can’t believe such a talented artist left us like this. He had two back-to-back programs in Kolkata,” said music composer Anupam Roy.

Fans paid tribute on an Instagram post released by its management with photos showing KK singing in front of a roaring crowd.

“Rest in peace legend, you will always be in our hearts,” one user wrote.

“You left too soon!!!!” commented another.

India’s film industry has lost a string of luminaries in recent years, including iconic singer Lata Mangeshkar at 92 in February this year and legendary actor Dilip Kumar in 2021 at 98.

The previous year, India lost beloved singer SP Balasubrahmanyam as well as actors Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput.

On Sunday, Sidhu Moose Wala, a Punjabi rapper popular at home and among the Indian diaspora in Britain and Canada, was gunned down in the northwestern state of Punjab. Police believe the murder was linked to organized crime.

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