‘The Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh died late on Friday in Chandigarh after a month-long battle with COVID-19, during which he lost his former national volleyball captain wife Nirmal Kaur to the same ailment.
The Padma Shri awardee was 91 and is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.
His condition turned critical as he developed complications, including fever and dipping oxygen saturation levels, after a bout with COVID-19, in the Intensive Care Unit of the PGIMER hospital here.
He had contracted COVID-19 last month and tested negative for the virus on Wednesday when he was shifted to general ICU in another block of the hospital.
Milkha had been “stable” before Thursday evening.
Milkha’s 85-year-old wife Nirmal, who had also been infected by the virus, passed away at a private hospital in Mohali on Sunday.
Milkha was admitted to PGIMER on June 3 after his oxygen levels dipped at home following treatment at the Fortis hospital in Mohali for a week.
The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold medallist and the 1958 Commonwealth Games champion but his greatest performance remains the fourth-place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics.
He also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was bestowed the Padma Shri in 1959.
A statement from the family read: ” It is with extreme sadness that we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh Ji passed away at 11.30 pm. on the 18th of June 2021.
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 5 days.
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”