Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled the death of hockey icon Balbir Singh Sr, saying that he was not only a brilliant player but also left a mark as a mentor.
The legendary centre-forward, who won three Olympic gold medals in his illustrious career, died after battling multiple health issues for over two weeks at a Mohali hospital.
"Padma Shri Balbir Singh Sr. Ji will be remembered for his memorable sporting performances. He brought home lots of pride and laurels," Modi tweeted.
"Undoubtedly a brilliant hockey player, he also made a mark as a great mentor. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and well wishers."
Singh, 96, is survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir, Karanbir, and Gurbir.
Balbir Sr was in a semi-comatose state since May 18 and had developed a blood clot in his brain after being first admitted to the hospital for bronchial pneumonia with high fever.
One of the country's greatest athletes, Balbir Sr was the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across modern Olympic history.
His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men's hockey final of the Olympics still remains unbeaten.