Sitar great Ravi Shankar died in Southern California yesterday (Dec. 11). He was 92. Shankar’s family said the legendary sitar player failed to recover from surgery performed last week at a San Diego hospital. Shankar helped introduce the sitar to the Western world through his association with The Beatles in the late ‘60s. George Harrison, whose friendship with Shankar led to performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and at Woodstock, called him “the godfather of world music.”
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage.” Shankar was accorded multiple honors in his lengthy career, including an Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Britain's Queen Elizabeth for services to music, the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award and the French Legion d'Honneur. In a prepared statement, quoted by Reuters, Shankar’s wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said, "Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. He will live forever in our hearts and in his music."