Kadri Gopalnath, the celebrated saxophone wizard, passed away on Friday morning at a hospital in Mangalore, Karnataka. The 69-year-old musician was considered a pioneer of Carnatic music on the saxophone. He had been ill for the last three months and was admitted to the hospital on Thursday night.

Gopalnath was not just a celebrated name in the field of music but he was also the recipient of many coveted awards including a Padma Shri. He had taken his first classes of the saxophone from his father Thaniappa whom he considered his ‘guru’. Later, after his father moved out, he learnt Carnatic music from maestro N Gopalakrishna Iyer.

Earlier, in an interview with Times of India, Gopalnath had talked about his initial days when he used to learn the music. He said he used to sit at Pandava Guhe near Kadri Jogi Mutt to practice saxophone because that place gave him peace and was filled with nature.

After he moved to Chennai, he found his new guru in TV Gopalakrishnan. It is believed that Gopalnath took around 20 years to hone his skills and master the western instrument – saxophone.

Gopalnath is survived by his wife and three children – one of them is a popular composer and singer named Manikantha Kadri. The last rites of the saxophone wizard will be held after his son who works in Kuwait returns to Mangalore.

May his soul rest in peace!