Famed Bollywood singer KK has died, aged 53

Popular Bollywood singer KK has passed away at the age of 53 following a “suspected cardiac arrest” during a performance at a recent concert.

KK – real name Krishnakumar Kunnath – was performing at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata on May 31 when he complained of discomfort, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. The singer took a break from the performance after reportedly feeling uneasy and complaining about the heat from the stage lights, and felt cold on his way back to his hotel.

He reportedly collapsed while on the way to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

Kunnath was known for his versatility, recording songs in various Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese and Gujarati. His most popular works remain the soundtracks he has contributed to over his long career, having provided the voice to memorable tracks like ‘Tadap Tadap’ (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam), ‘Dus Bahane’ (Dus), and ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ (Gunday).

Bollywood singer KK has died
Bollywood singer KK performs live. Credit: The India Today Group / Getty Images

Kunnath released his debut album ‘Pal’ in 1999, and his single ‘Yaaron Dosti Badi Hi Haseen Hai’ is regarded as one of the most popular songs of that decade. He released a sophomore album, ‘Humsafar’, in 2008, and wasfeatured in several compilations.

He had been nominated for Best Playback Singer multiple times at India’s renowned Filmfare Awards, taking home the prize once at the 2009 ceremony for his work on ‘Khuda Jaane’ from the 2008 romantic comedy Bachna Ae Haseeno.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who have since paid respect to the singer in the wake of his passing. “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted singer Krishnakumar Kunnath popularly known as KK,” he wrote. “His songs reflected a wide range of emotions as 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.”

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai director Karan Johar followed suit with a tribute on Twitter, writing, “Heartbreaking news on the sudden passing away of such an incredible talent. RIP KK, the entertainment world has lost a true artist today. Om Shanti.”

See more tributes to Kunnath below.