Bollywood actor-director Farhan Akhtar, who essayed the role of Indian sprinter Milkha Singh in the 2013 sports drama 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag', penned his heartfelt tribute on the demise of the track legend.
Singh was 91 and is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.
Sharing a picture alongside Singh, Akhtar wrote, “Dearest Milkha ji, A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it's the stubborn side I inherited from you... the side that when it sets its mind on something, just never gives up. And the truth is that you will always be alive. Because you were more than a large hearted, loving, warm, down to earth man.”
“You represented an idea. You represented a dream. You represented (to use your own words) how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. You have touched all our lives. For those who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn't as a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart,” he added.
Milkha 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. He 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. The couple were suspected to have contracted the infection from a house help.
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.
His timing of 45.6 sec at the Italian capital remained the national record for 38 years before Paramjeet Singh broke it in 1998.
He also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was bestowed the Padma Shri in 1959.'India lost a colossal sportsperson': PM Modi, President Kovind, Vice-President Naidu and others mourn demise of track legend Milkha Singh
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