Updated: June 21, 2021 11:16:56 am
Indian sprint legend Milkha Singh died on Friday after a month-long battle with COVID-19, during which he lost his former national volleyball captain wife Nirmal Kaur to the same ailment. The Padma Shri awardee was 91 and is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.
Jeev penned down an emotional tribute to his parents on Instagram and hoped that his mother and father are together and continue to protect them from ‘up there.’ He shared recent as well as old (black and white) photos of the couple and the family and wrote, “The relationship between a child and their parents never changes. It doesn’t matter how old you get or where in the world you end up living or how much you have accomplished in life. The relationship remains simple, it’s one of unconditional love.”
Today is Father’s Day – another sad reminder of what I’ve lost. Dad was much more than my father – he was my best friend, my guide, my mentor.
I hope I’ve the same resilience & inner strength to overcome all odds.
I really need it now. And I will need it for the rest of my life.
— Jeev Milkha Singh (@JeevMilkhaSingh) June 21, 2021
“As parents, you have been the strength and backbone of our family since as far as I can remember. Together, you have nurtured and supported each one of us with so much love and care, while somehow inspiring an entire nation to dream big and believe that anything is possible if you work hard and dedicate yourself,” he said.
Jeev said that it was not going to be easy without them. “You have touched so many lives over the years and the impact you have made on this nation will long be remembered. Being around you has taught me how to be a better father, brother, husband and has made me into a more compassionate and empathetic human being.
“I love you with all of my heart mom and dad. It’s not going to be easy without you, but I know you’ll be up there, together, protecting us as you have been all our lives,” he added.
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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. 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.
Milkha had been “stable” before Thursday evening. 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. He also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was bestowed the Padma Shri in 1959.