Mangaluru: Renowned saxophone exponent Kadri Gopalnath died at a private hospital here early on Friday, family sources said.
Gopalnath, 69, had been ailing for some time. He leaves behind his wife, two sons and a daughter.
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.
A Padma Shree awardee and one of the pioneers of music in saxophone in the country, he had the distinction of being the first Carnatic musician to be invited to the BBC Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1994.
Gopalnath's son, Manikanth Kadri is a well-known music director.
Family sources said he was admitted to hospital here on Thursday after a complaint of back pain and died early Friday following cardiac arrest. He had played the saxophone for Tamil film 'Duet', helmed by late director K Balachander with musical score by A R Rahman, popularising the otherwise lesser known instrument among the people in Tamil Nadu.
Gopalnath was active in the music world in Chennai although he was a native of coastal Karnataka.
He was born at Mittakere in Sajeepa Mooda village in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district on December 6, 1949.
He learnt Nagaswara at an early age from his father Taniyappa who was a famous artiste. Gopalnath was attracted to the saxophone after listening to a recital in the Mysore palace band set and developed a passion for it. He later learnt playing Carnatic music on the saxophone from N Gopalakrishna Iyer of Kalaniketan. He presented his first concert on the All India Radio in 1978.
Gopalnath had performed in several places across the world including in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka and West Asia.
Mangalore and Bangalore universities had conferred their honorary doctorates on Gopalnath. He had also won many honours including Kendra Sangeet Natak Academy award.
The last rites will be performed on Saturday, sources said.