Eminent saxophone exponent Kadri Gopalnath dies at 69

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Kadri Gopalnath, the celebrated saxophone wizard, passed away on Friday morning at a hospital in Mangalore, Karnataka.

Gopalnath learned to play the saxophone under Gopalkrishna Iyer of Kalaniketana, Mangaluru. It took him almost 20 years to conquer the complex western wind instrument, and he was eventually crowned as the "Saxophone Chakravarthy".

Gopalnath, 69, had been ailing for some time.

Apart from the sobriquet "Saxophone Chakravarty" (Emperor of Saxophone), Gopalnath was conferred many awards such as the Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi, Kalaimamani of the Tamil Nadu government, Karnataka Kalasri, Gana Kala Bhushana and Naada Gandharva just to name a few.

He died at a hospital after being reportedly admitted on Thursday following his illness.

Gopalnath had played at the Jazz Festival in Prague, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the International Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Music Hall Festival in Paris, the BBC Promenade concert in 1994 at London, among others. He is survived by his two sons and wife.

His last rites are slated to be held later in the day as one of his sons is in the Middle East. Mourning the death of Kadri Gopalnath, Rahman tweeted, "Another Master gone too soon RIP #kadrigopalnath". The body will be kept at the town hall here for the people to pay their last respects, sources said.

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