Highly influential Indian musician/guru/politician/pundit Ravi Shankar has died in a US hospital at age 92. His music transcended all cultural barriers.  He is survived by his daughter Norah Jones. The BBC reports that he had been admitted to the Sripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego last week, yet failed to fully recover from surgery.

The Shankar family released the following statement via ravishankar.org:

“It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today, December 11th, 2012.

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.

We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. 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. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music.”

Ravi Shankar is often regarded as the most igained international fame in the mid 1960′s when George Harrison of The Beatles traveled to India for six weeks to study under his tutelage. His music influenced many rock bands of the time including The Byrds and The Beatles. Beatles Ringo Starr released a statement stating, “Ravi was a great loss musically, spiritually and physically. God bless to Ravi’s family. Peace & Love,”. While known for his music, Ravi was often thought of as a guru or pundit first. He later went on to play the famous Monteray Pop Festival, Woodstock Music Festival, to generate proceeds for the flood of refugees pouring into India, as well as The Concert for Bangladesh. He has won three Grammys and was also nominated for a Academy Award for Best Original Music Score for his work on the film Ghandi.

Later, from 1986 to 1992, Shankar put his politics into practice as a member of India’s upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, or state assembly, serving with India’s current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“It was difficult, often, to judge what was more remarkable — the man or his music,” Singh said of Shankar.

Ravi Shankar on death, “We are afraid of death, because we don’t know what it is. Fear comes from the unknown, something which we don’t know. It’s nothing. You’ll find the body has dropped, but nothing has happened to you. You are intact; you take another body.” And, Death is very complementary to living. It’s nothing opposed to life. It’s a complement to life; it makes life new and fresh.”

George Harrison and Ravi Shankar

Bangla Dun – Live in NYC