Fans mourn death of Malaysian songstress Sharifah Aini

KUALA LUMPUR - Fans of Malaysian veteran singer Sharifah Aini are mourning the death of their idol whom they described as a legend with a melodious voice that had earned her a huge following not only in Malaysia, but also in countries like Singapore and Brunei.

Facebook user Helena Ngau said that Sharifah's passing at 61 is "too young for a legend like her", The Star newspaper reported.

"I am very sad that she was taken away this century. She was a great singer, her voice was so wonderful and touching, without any digital effects," said Ngau. "Malaysia has lost one of its greatest and genuine musical treasures."

Lilac Bl Ong expressed her sadness upon hearing of Sharifah's untimely death.

"What a loss. She was the voice I grew up with and her tone was so rich and smooth. May she rest in peace," said Ong.

Christaphor Sagayaraj also remembered growing up listening to Sharifah's songs.

"She is an amazing singer. I use to hear her songs during my younger days. My deepest condolences," he said.

The songstress, fondly known as Kak Pah, died of lung infection early Saturday. She was laid to rest at Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery later in the day, the New Straits Times reported. Her funeral was attended by hundreds of family members, friends and fans. Among those present were her ex-husband Ali Bakar and their only son Aliff Omar, as well as celebrities like Malaysia's top singer Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and chef Datuk Chef Wan, according to the newspaper.

Sharifah's talent was discovered at age 15 after she won Bintang RTS, a singing contest in Singapore in 1968 where she impressed judges with her rendition of 'Tiga Malam'.

A year later, she signed a singing contract with EMI. Her debut album 'Seri Dewi Malam' received critical acclaim from music pundits in Malaysia and Singapore.

She produced a total of 93 albums, seven of which were English albums, with the last produced in 2006 which was a compilation album entitled "Timeless".

Even Malaysia's top leaders shared their heartfelt condolences on Twitter on Saturday, The Star reported.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he was saddened by the sudden death of the legendary songstress.

"I am saddened by Datuk Sharifah Aini's passing. I hope she will be placed among the pious," he tweeted.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also sent his condolences on Twitter. "There is no replacement for the loss of Datuk Sharifah Aini,'' he wrote.

Besides singing, Sharifah was also involved in acting at the age of 23 with her first film 'Hapuslah Airmatamu' and two years later, she starred in the film 'Sumber Ilhamku', 'Bintang Pujaan' (1981), 'Diva Popular' (2006) and 'Penanggal' (2012).

The legendary singer was accorded the title 'National Songstress' in 2006, which is the highest national award for a female singer in recognition of her contributions to the music industry, people and nation.