Legendary musician USTAD BISMILLAH KHAN died of a heart attack in the Indian town of Varanasi in the early hours of this morning (21AUG06). He was 90. Khan was born on 21 March 1916 into a family of musicians, and began his musical training at the age of six. He was soon considered a master of the art, even playing the shenai (an oboe-like wind instrument for which he became famous) at Delhi's Red Fort on the eve of India's Independence in 1947. Khan, a practising Muslim, was seen as an example of Indian religious harmony and received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna (Jewel Of India) in 2001. His body will stay in a park in Varanasi - also known as Benares - for people to pay their last respects before his funeral.
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