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Pakistan's celebrated singer Nayyara Noor passed away on Saturday in Karachi after an illness, her family and friends said. She was 71.

Considered one of the subcontinent’s most popular singer, she caught her first break on Radio Pakistan, in 1968.

Her storied career spanned several decades, even earning her many national accolades. She was a recipient of the Pride of Performance award in 2006 as well as a Nigar Award in 1973.

She was born in Assam, India where she spent her childhood, and migrated to Pakistan following Partition.

She did not come from a background in music nor had any formal training, but her talent was discovered by a professor at Islamia College in Lahore after she performed for her friends and teachers. She was then asked to perform for the university’s Radio Pakistan programmes.

In 1971, Nayyara made her public singing debut in Pakistani television serials and films.

She also sung ghazals penned by famous poets like Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz and performed with legends like Mehdi Hassan and Ahmed Rushdi.

This garnered her a large following as a celebrated ghazal singer, with her fans often saying that she gave classic poetry a new life.

In her long career as a singer, Nayyara Noor was also given the title of Bulbul-e-Pakistan (Nightingale of Pakistan).

In 2012, she bid farewell to her professional singing career by saying that it is honourable to step back.

She made a rare public appearance in 2019 alongside longtime colleague Arshad Mahmud at an event at Karachi’s National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) and spoke of her philosophy on music, “Music is probably the purest form of art. Do not adulterate it,” she stated then.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed grief over Nayyara's demise, stating that her death is "an irreparable damage" to the music world.

Paying his tributes on Twitter, PM Shehbaz praised her melody and passion.

She was married to Shehryar Zaidi. Her younger son Jaffer Zaidi is the lead vocalist of a music band, while the elder son Naad-e-Ali has also debuted as a solo singer.

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Pakistan's celebrated singer Nayyara Noor passes away at 71 in Karachi

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