Krishnakumar Kunnath, the Indian playback singer popularly known as KK, died on Tuesday night after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest post a concert performance in Kolkata.
The 53-year-old singer was in the city for a two-day concert and reportedly fell ill during the last event at Nazrul Mancha. He was taken to the CMRI hospital, where he was declared “brought dead” around 10 pm.
According to The Indian Express, KK felt unwell during the concert and complained of uneasiness during the interval. However, he continued to perform until the end of the event that was organised by the Gurudas College. Post the show, the singer was taken to a five-star hotel in Esplanade, where his health deteriorated, and he died before making it to the hospital.
The singer’s post mortem will be conducted on Wednesday in Kolkata.
KK, who ruled the airwaves with back-to-back hit songs in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films in the 2000s, began his career by singing advertisement jingles. He was introduced to the film world by composer AR Rahman. His cinema debut was with the songs Kalluri Saalai and Hello Doctor from the 1996 Tamil film Kadhal Desam. KK later rose to fame with his debut album titled Pal; the songs Yaaron and Pal from the album became big hits and were frequently sung in school and college farewells.
In a career spanning almost three decades, KK sang innumerable songs in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, and Hindi. He cut his teeth in Bollywood by singing in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and went on to lend his voice to films such as Gulzar’s Maachis (1996), Humraaz (2002), Dus (2005), Om Shanti Om (2007), Jannat (2008), Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), Gangster (2006), Devdas (2002), Woh Lamhe (2006), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), and many others.
KK won several awards for his playback singing, including at the Hub Awards, Filmfare Awards South, Eenam-Swaralaya Singer of the Year Award, and Screen Awards, among others.
The singer’s untimely demise has shocked the film world and the general public. Tributes and condolences have since been pouring in from members of the film industry, fans and politicians on social media.
Singer Shreya Ghoshal took to Twitter and wrote, “I am unable to wrap my head around this news. Numb. Why! This is too hard to accept! Heart is shattered in pieces. One of the most humble, gentle, pure human beings I have met in my life. God’s dear child was sent to spread love in the lives of millions of fans, friends and colleagues. Now God needed him back? So soon?! Cruel!! Can’t imagine what his family is going through. My deepest, sincerest condolences. His golden, soulful voice echoes in all our hearts. Rest in peace dear KK.”
Composer Anu Malik wrote, “Shattered beyond words! Gone too soon brother! There never was anyone like you and there never will be!”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted singer Krishnakumar Kunnath popularly known as KK. His songs reflected a wide range of emotions [and] struck a chord with people of all age groups. We will always remember him through his songs. Condolences to his family and fans. Om Shanti.”
Others who paid tribute to the late singer included actors Preity Zinta, Parambrata Chatterjee, Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal, Vivek Oberoi, Paoli Dam, Chitrangda Singh, Unni Mukundan, singers Sonu Nigam, Harshdeep Kaur, Vishal Dadlani, composers Ramani Bharadwaj, Thaman S, filmmaker Mohan Raja, and filmmaker-comedian Varun Grover.
KK is survived by his wife Jyothi, son Nakul and daughter Tamara.