Legendary athlete ‘Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh passes away at 91

Chandigarh, Jun 19 (IANS): Legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, popularly known as ‘Flying Sikh', passed away in a local hospital here at 11.30 p.m. on Friday, said a statement from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, where he was being treated for Covid-related complications.

Milkha was 91, and is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters.

He was born in Layalpur, in undivided India and now in Pakistan. His love with athletics began after he enrolled himself with the EME Corps of the Indian Army.

Six days ago, on June 13, Milkha's wife Nirmal had passed away. A former India volleyball captain, she was 85, and she too was affected by Covid and related complications.

"Legendary Indian Sprinter Shri Milkha Singh ji was admitted in the ICU of Covid Hospital of PGIMER on 3rd June 2021 and was treated for Covid there till 13th June when after putting up a valiant battle with Covid, Milkha Singh Ji tested negative," said Prof Ashok Kumar, official spokesperson, PGIMER, in a media statement after Milkha Singh passed away.

"However, due to post-Covid complications, he was shifted out of Covid Hospital to medical ICU. But despite best of the efforts by the medical team, Milkha Singh ji could not be retrieved from his critical condition and after a brave fight, he left for his heavenly abode at 11.30 p.m. on 18th June 2021, here at PGIMER," the statement said.

Milkha Singh's family also issued a statement after he passed away.

"He fought hard but God has his ways and it was perhaps true love and companionship that both our mother Nirmal ji and now dad have passed away in a matter of five days," the family statement read.

"We are deeply indebted to the doctors at PGI for their valiant efforts and the love and prayers we received from across the world and from yourselves. We Thank You," said the family.

Milkha became popular when he clocked 45.6 seconds to finish fourth at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. Until that time, it was the closest that an Indian athlete had come to winning an individual Olympic medal.

Later, of course, P.T. Usha missed a bronze by a whisker in 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. She clocked 55.42 seconds, and missed the bronze by a mere 0.01 seconds.

Decades later, a Bollywood film was made on Milkha Singh.

"Prof. Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER expresses his deepest condolences on the sad demise of this 'most revered' sporting icon, who will be remembered for his exceptional accomplishments on and off the field and his endearing and humane personality," said the PGIMER statement.







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Comment on this article

  • Prashanth, Mangalore/kuwait

    Sat, Jun 19 2021

    A true legend of Indian sports. Flying Sikh deservingly given for he held the National record and Asian record for so long. If he was in present day surely would have achieved lot more than CWG n AG medals. But his last wish was never fulfilled, Hope he would have waited for another 2 months to see Neeraj get us a medal in athletics. The last dream of Milkha was to see a OG medal in athletics in his lifetime, would have been fulfilled but was robbed the chance by covid first by postponing the OG and then taking away his life. Hope Neeraj would fulfill this dream soon.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • myna, mysuru

    Sat, Jun 19 2021

    Rest in peace brother. You did bring credit and honour to your Motherland by your achievements.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Af,,,, Mangaluru

    Sat, Jun 19 2021

    Respect and salute for Indian Legend , Rest in peace.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sunil Kumar, Mangalore

    Sat, Jun 19 2021

    Hari om shanti.. flying paji

    DisAgree [2] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse


    Sat, Jun 19 2021

    Milkha Singh, the name says it all! 'The flying sikh' is no more. A true gentleman and India's finest exponent of short distance running. His name will be etched in our memories for many years to come, indeed a sad day for all!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Nallasopara

    Sat, Jun 19 2021

    Rest in Peace ...

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

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