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Ravi Shankar Dies at Age 92

Ravi Shankar; photo by Jayanta Shaw/ReutersRavi Shankar, the Indian musical icon who made the sitar famous, played with the Beatles and helped introduce “world music” to the masses, died Tuesday at age 92 in a San Diego hospital.

Shankar had suffered from health issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last week, his family said in a statement. The surgery was successful, but he was unable to recover.

“As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away,” the family said.

Shankar, who lived in both India and the United States, is survived by his wife Sukanya; daughter Norah Jones, a singer; daughter Anoushka Shankar, a sitarist; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Called the “godfather of world music” by the Beatles’ George Harrison, Shankar is being remembered Wednesday for many accomplishments, among them:

Being one of the first, if not most famous, ambassador of Indian culture and music.

Winning three Grammy Awards. His most recent nomination, for his latest album, “The Living Room Sessions, Part 1,” came the night before his last surgery.

Pioneering the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh.

Inspiring the Beatles to record songs like “Norwegian Wood” (1965) and “Within You, Without You” (1967).

Playing a four-hour set at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967:

Playing the opening day of Woodstock:

Collaborating with a diverse group of musicians, including composer Philip Glass, classical violist Yehudi Menuhin on their “West Meets East” albums in the 1960s and 1970s, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and David Crosby.

Writing the Oscar-nominated score for the 1982 film “Gandhi.”

Serving as a member of the upper chamber of the Parliament of India from 1986 to 1992.

We’ll have more on Shankar’s life on Wednesday’s NewsHour.

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