Huge crowds mourn Bangladeshi pop idol
Monday 06 June 2011
Tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Monday at a university in Dhaka to pay their last respects to Azam Khan, the country's most famous pop star who died over the weekend.
Khan, 62, who also fought in the country's liberation war against Pakistan in 1971, died on Sunday morning after a year-long battle with cancer, triggering an outpouring of grief in Bangladesh's vibrant music world.
Khan shot to fame in the 1970s after he revolutionised the South Asian country's staid music scene with pop and rock numbers that dominated charts through the 1980s.
Mourners flocked to a Dhaka hospital after news of his death broke and huge crowds congregated again on Monday at the Dhaka University campus to bid farewell to Khan, whose body was on display before being taken to a mosque.
"The mourners include young boys and very old men, devout Muslims and smart office executives. Most have brought flowers to pay their last respects," police inspector Hossain Shahid Chowdhury told AFP.
Khan was rushed to Singapore last year after he was diagnosed with oral cancer but was forced to abandon the treatment and return to Bangladesh due to a lack of money, which he blamed on music piracy.
Khan has repeatedly bemoaned Bangladesh's poor copyright laws, telling AFP in November that he could not pay for his medical treatment despite having made 17 hit albums which have sold millions of copies.
"I would have been a millionaire with personal jet of my own had I lived in the West. Yet I live like a pauper. All I have got is love from ordinary folks," he said.
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