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G Anand, Telugu Playback Singer, Dies at 67 of Covid-19 Complications

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Source: Chiranjeevi Twitter handle

Gedela Ananda Rao, veteran Telugu playback singer, died on Thursday evening at a private hospital in Hyderabad due to Covid-19 related complications.

He was 67.

The late playback singer, who tested positive for the virus a few days ago, was undergoing treatment at Tirumala Hospital in BN Reddy Nagar in Hyderabad. According to a tweet from playback singer Venu Srirangam, posted on Thursday night, Rao’s oxygen levels had come down to 55, and was in need of a ventilator which was not available at Tirumala hospital. Rao was in a “very critical condition”, Venu tweeted. Venu had sought help online to find a ventilator for the late singer. At 11.35 pm on Thursday, Venu tweeted that Rao had passed away.

Venu told The Times of India that he had received a call from Rao’s family saying that he was in a critical condition and needed a ventilator on Thursday. The report further quoted Anand as saying ventilators were available at the hospital and before Rao was admitted, his family had called and confirmed this, with hospital authorities. However, before Rao could reach the hospital, the ventilator was allotted to another patient on an emergency basis, Anand said.

Born in Tulagam in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, Rao was part of the musical troupe Swara Madhuri and had performed in over 5,000 events across the world. Before making his debut in cinema as a playback singer, he had performed at various shows and functions. In a 2010 interview with Telugu Cinema, Rao said “My father is stage drama artiste and I learned most of my music from him only. He used to feature in mythological dramas. When he played the role of Rama, my brother and I used to play the roles of Lava and Kusha on the stage. That’s when I started my singing career. I then sang at functions and festivals around my place and also started participating in the competitions and won many prizes, all at a young age.”

Rao made his singing debut in the 1976 Telugu film America Ammayi in which he sang the song Oka Venuvu. Rao also sang Enniyallo Enniyallo, a song from popular Telugu actor Chiranjeevi’s debut film, Pranam Khareedu (1978). Condoling the demise of the singer, Chiranjeevi tweeted, “It is unbelievable to see the man with an infectious laugh and the one who sang the first song of my film career and subsequently who became a part of me, has died due to Covid-19. I first danced onscreen to his singing and that has created a strong bond between us. His death is a huge loss, personally. My condolences.”

Venu also paid his respects to Rao and wrote, “Feeling Really sad to share that Senior Playback Singer & a Gem of a person @anandgedala Garu is no more. Can’t digest this news. He called me just one week back & spoke to me for around 15 mnts.”

Several members of the Indian film fraternity have succumbed to the virus during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, including cinematographer KV Anand, filmmaker Thamira, comedian Pandu and editor Ajay Sharma, among many others. Like Rao, Sharma, who died of Covid-19 related complications on Tuesday, too faced difficulty in finding a hospital bed in New Delhi. His oxygen levels had dropped to 83.

Rao’s final rites were held on Friday morning in Vanasthalipuram, Hyderabad. Anand is survived by a wife and two sons.
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