Chandigarh: Nirmal Kaur, former Indian women volleyball team captain and wife of sprint legend Milkha Singh, died at a Mohali hospital due to COVID-19 related complications on Sunday.
She was 85 and is survived by her husband, one son and three daughters.
“We are deeply saddened to inform you that Mrs Nirmal Milkha Singh passed away after a valiant battle against COVID at 4 PM today,” a statement from the spokesperson of the Milkha family said.
“A back bone of the Milkha Family, she was 85 years old. It is tragic that the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh ji could not attend the cremation which was conducted this evening itself as he is still in the ICU (of PGIMER in Chandigarh) himself.”
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condoled the demise of Kaur.
“I am saddened to learn about the death of one of the iconic volleyball players who brought several laurels for the country thus making every Punjabi proud,” Singh said in his message.
Nirmal, who contracted the deadly virus last month, was brought to Fortis Hospital at Mohali on May 26, two days after Milkha was admitted to the same facility due to COVID-pneumonia.
Milkha was discharged on the request of the family a week later but Nirmal remained at the hospital, batting the dreaded infection. Milkha was later admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of PGIMER here and he is currently “stable and continues to improve”.
A former Director of Sports for Women in the Punjab Government and ex-captain of the Indian national volleyball team, Nirmal had fought a valiant battle till the very end, the family spokesperson said.
“The family has expressed its grateful thanks to everyone for their solidarity and prayers right through the battle which gave them the strength to face it bravely.”
Though, she continued to be stable for many days, her condition kept deteriorating.
Earlier, Nirmal had to be put on high flow nasal cannula and non-invasive ventilation intermittently after there was a drop in her oxygen level, Fortis hospital had said in one of its previous updates.
Milkha and his wife were suspected to have contracted the infection from a house help.
Nirmal’s son and ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh and daughter Mona Milkha Singh, who is a doctor in the United States were in attendance during the last rites.
Both Jeev and Mona had flown down to Chandigarh from Dubai and the US after their parents fell ill.
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