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Olympian Shankar Laxman passes away

TWO-TIME Olympic hockey gold medal winner Padmashri Shankar Laxman (73) died of a heart attack this morning.Popularly known as Shankar Dada, the Olympian had been suffering from gangrene for some time. At about 2 am today, he complained of chest pain and uneasiness.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 15:01 IST

TWO-TIME Olympic hockey gold medal winner Padmashri Shankar Laxman (73) died of a heart attack this morning. Popularly known as Shankar Dada, the Olympian had been suffering from gangrene for some time. At about 2 am today, he complained of chest pain and uneasiness.

Sometime later he, however, felt better. Later in the morning, he died on the way to Getwell Hospital. Doctors at the Civil Hospital said Laxman had suffered a minor heart attack. He had previously had two heart attacks. Laxman is survived by wife, a son, three daughters and grand children.

Laxman’s gangrene was detected on March 23 and was referred to MY Hospital, where doctors suggested amputation. His family refused and took him back to Mhow where he was ‘treated’ by a local ‘vaid’ and friend Ramesh Parmar and it was felt that he was healing.

After reading reports of Laxman’s gangrene, former dean of MGM Medical College and gangrene expert Dr V K Agrawal suggested omentopexy surgery through which he had saved over 1000 limbs in past 16 years. However, the family refused once again. MP Jyotiraditya Scindia visited Laxman and inquired about his health and offered all possible medical help while he was here for the England-India ODI on April 15.

Laxman’s son Manohar told Hindustan Times his father continued the Vaid’s treatment, but had been complaining of pain for the past two days.

Laxman, considered one of the finest hockey goalkeepers of his era, had retired as an honorary captain of the 5th Battalion of Maratha Light Infantry. Coincidentally, the 26th Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry, a unit of the Maratha Regiment, is in Mhow currently. The Unit’s adjutant Ankur Mohan was among the first to visit Laxman’s house today. SDM John Kingsley, ASP R D Khare and others also visited his house. A steady stream of family friends and sports lovers made a beeline to his house to pay their last respects.

The funeral procession started from Laxman’s house at 2.30 pm and passed through the major thoroughfares before he was laid to rest at Muktidham with full military honours. Among those who attended the funeral were MLA Antar Singh Durbar, Tulsi Silawat, Prabhakar Thakur, Yogesh Yadav, Rajendra Harswal and others. A wreath was also placed on behalf of Army Chief General J J Singh, Infantry School Commandant Lt General Satyevir Yadav and 26 Maratha Light Infantry Col V K Sawant by Col Kishore Samir. Mhow Station Headquarters gave his family Rs 3,000 to perform the last rites, which is a practice followed by the Army.

Life sketch
Shankar Laxman
July 7, 1933 –April 29, 2006
1956: Olympic gold medal in Melbourne.
1958: Asian Games gold medal in Tokyo.
1960: Olympic silver medal in Rome.
1964: Captain of the gold medal winning team in Tokyo Olympics.
1966: Asian Games gold medal in Bangkok.

Awards
Arjuna Award: 1965
Padmashri: 1967

First Published: Apr 30, 2006 15:01 IST