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Padma Shri awardee Sonam Tshering Lepcha dies at 92; PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee condole demise


KALIMPONG: Folk musician and Padma Shri awardee Sonam Tshering Lepcha passed away at Kalimpong on Thursday due to old age ailments, his family sources said.

He was 92. He passed away this morning due to age-old ailments in Kalimpong. He suffered a cardiac arrest, a senior district official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also took to Twitter to condole the musician's death and recalled his efforts to popularise and represent Lepcha culture.

"Padma Shri Ren Sonam Tshering Lepcha Ji was a a multi-faceted personality. He made outstanding efforts to popularise the great Lepcha culture," Modi said in a tweet.

"Saddened to hear about the passing away of Padmashree Ren Sonam Tshering Lepcha in Kalimpong. My deepest condolences to his family and the entire Lepcha community of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim," Banerjee also tweeted.

Lepcha, who was born in Kalimpong in 1928, is survived by two wives and several children.

He started his career as a soldier. He travelled to various parts of Sikkim and complied a wide range of Indian folk and traditional Lepcha songs and played folk music on All India Radio in 1960.

He was highly reverred in Sikkim, where he spent much of his time for his role in the revival of Lepcha culture, which is an indigenous one in Sikkim.

He was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of folk music.