Remembering Voice of India contest winner Ishmeet Singh as a "wonderful", "down-to-earth" and "sincere" person, members of the Indian music industry said they were shocked by the drowning of the "dynamic singer" in the Maldives.
The 19-year-old, from a middle-class family in Ludhiana, Punjab, had gone to the Maldives for a promotional event with the music company with which he had a contract.
The singer left Mumbai Tuesday morning for the Maldives, where he was to perform on August 1. However, he drowned on Tuesday in a swimming pool at a beach resort.
Music composers Jatin Pandit and his brother Lalit Pandit, who co-judged Ishmeet on Voice of India (VOI), told IANS they were shocked by the news of Ishmeet's death.
Jatin said: "I am shocked. He was an innocent boy. Ishmeet always had it in the back of his mind that he had to be the VOI winner. I had even been to his house in Ludhiana and had food with his family. I know everyone in his house. I can't believe he is no more. If he would have continued with the same zeal, he would have made his mark in the industry."
Lalit revealed that he was working with Ishmeet on his album that is still in the composing stage and said the young singer's death "is a very sad and terrible action of fate".
"Ishmeet had recorded a song for one of his albums with me and it had turned out very well. I will see to it and ensure that the song is released and his voice reaches the people of India. His death has totally shocked me," he said.
Lalit blamed the organisers "who send such young and talented singers abroad for shows".
"I am sure there must have been a lapse in security," he added.
Ishmeet had on November 26 last year won the Voice of India singing contest, pipping his closest rival Harshit from Uttar Pradesh in a keen contest. He was given the winner's trophy by melody queen Lata Mangeshkar.
Supporters of the singer voted heavily for him from Punjab during the finals of the contest. Even though Harshit led the votes tally in most regions of the country, the final count went in Ishmeet's favour due to heavy voting from Punjab.
Harshit, who was close to Ishmeet, said: "It is so sad. I was to perform with Ishmeet on the forthcoming event and was about to fly out on July 31 from India. I wish I was there with him so that such an accident could have been avoided."
"He always did the right thing in life and I hope God pays him well for his good deeds. May his soul rest in peace," he added.
Monty Sharma of Saawariya fame met Ishmeet just 15 days ago and the news of his death has come as a blow to the music director, who is currently judging the second season of VOI.
"I met him for a show in Kolkata. I am shocked to know about him. He was such a down-to-earth and a simple person. I think he was very dynamic as a singer and the country has lost a good voice," he said.
TV anchor Mandira Bedi was shooting when she heard of the news and she was left "aghast".
"I don't know what to say. Shocked is the word. He was a really wonderful person and an equally good singer. I was confident that he would have a bright future ahead. But this news is really sad," said Mandira, host of the recently concluded music reality show Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar from which Ishmeet was eliminated before the final round.