Monday, October 3, 2022

KK Last Rites News | KK’s demise: Last song to final breath, 60 minutes gone in a ‘Pal’

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KOLKATA: There were several telltale signs of singer KK’s unease during his last stage performance, barely an hour before his death on Tuesday.

The first sign was something extremely uncharacteristic: he did not finish his 20-song set with his signature ‘Pal’, leaving in a hurry after the 19th. KK’s fans always expect ‘Pal’ as an electrifying show-ender. Second, he was sweating profusely and requested for a drone camera to fly over his head, so that he could get some air from its rotor blades. Third, he kept asking the organisers to switch off the spotlights trained on him, probably because he could not bear the heat. Fourth – and this came to light only on Wednesday – was the cops finding several sachets of antacid in his hotel room, an indicator that the singer had felt some uneasiness in his chest.

Krishnakumar Kunnath (54), who died of a massive cardiac arrest an hour after the concert at south Kolkata’s Nazrul Mancha, where the crowd count was nearly three times the auditorium’s capacity, was offered a gun salute at Rabindra Sadan by the Bengal government on Wednesday in the presence of CM Mamata Banerjee and KK’s family – wife Jyothy, son Nakul and daughter Tamara.

The singer’s body was wheeled out of CMRI Hospital around 11am, shortly after his family reached the hospital, and taken to SSKM Hospital, where doctors conducted a post-mortem. The preliminary report didn’t find any unnatural cause. Death was due to a myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

‘The way KK performed, we didn’t realize he was ill’

Chief minister Banerjee cut short her Bankura visit to meet KK’s family and pay her respects. “We lost an eminent Bollywood singer in Kolkata — Bhai KK. He was a singer of repute and was a fan favourite of the younger generation,” she said at a public meeting in Bankura before taking a helicopter from Andal to reach Kolkata.

Police visited KK’s hotel, checked his room, spoke to the hotel staff and KK’s manager Hitesh Bhatt, and collected CCTV footage. This team found the antacid sachets. They also learnt that the singer had complained of “joint pain” on Monday night. Pain in the left arm is often an initial symptom of a heart attack.

Singer KK passes away: Live updates

Earlier on Tuesday, fans — most of whom had no idea that the singer was in discomfort —were disappointed that KK did not conclude with ‘Pal’, which ends with the line “Hum rahe ya na rahe, yaad ayenge ye pal”. Completely sapped and profusely sweating in an auditorium that felt like a cauldron, KK’s last song of the evening was ‘Koi Kahe’. As long as he was on stage, though, it was a very energetic performance, and he spent every ounce of his energy on the performance. He jumped around, blew kisses, shook hands with fans, posed for selfies and egged the audience to sing with him even before he left the stadium in a hurry.

“Inside the auditorium it was so stuffy that many of us felt sick,” said Sreshtha Chatterjee, a student of Shyambazar Law College who was in the audience. “But the way KK kept on performing, we never realized he was feeling ill,” she added. While leaving the auditorium, he was mobbed by fans for selfies. “He stopped by to pose with a number of fans. He appeared very tired and told me it was late and he had to go,” said Farhad Reza, a musician. During the journey to the hotel, KK reportedly told his manager that he was feeling both hot and cold, and wanted the car AC to be switched off and the windows to be rolled down. At the hotel, he obliged fans who approached him for selfies in the lobby before walking up, unaided, to his room. Once inside, he stumbled and fell flat on his face.

“As I opened the door, KK fell on his face and couldn’t get up on his own. We immediately took him to the hospital, where doctors said it was too late,” recalled Bhatt. Doctors at the hospital said there was no chance of saving him when he was wheeled into the emergency ward. “He had no pulse and the ECG had flat-lined,” said a doctor.

The news of the singer’s untimely passing sent shockwaves through the industry in Kolkata and Mumbai and left those who had attended his back-to-back concerts on Monday and Tuesday in disbelief. Many of them turned up at the hospital and Rabindra Sadan to pay their last respect before his body was flown back to Mumbai in the evening.

(With inputs from Sumati Yengkhom & Dwaipayan Ghosh)

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