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EghtesadOnline: The great classical Iranian composer and singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian passed away at a hospital in Tehran on Thursday at the age of 80 after a years-long battle with kidney cancer.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Behesht Zahra Cemetery in southern Tehran in the early hours of Friday to pay tribute to the iconic vocalist whose soulful music and undulating voice had captured the hearts of millions around the world.

The remains of the revered singer was then flown to his final resting place and hometown, Mashhad, in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, IRNA reported. 

He will be buried on Saturday near Fedowsi Tomb in Toos, near Mashhad, next to the grave of Iranian poet Mehdi Akhavan-Sales.

Pointing to the enduring legacy of Shajarian, President Hassan Rouhani posted on Twitter, “The grateful people of Iran will forever keep his name, memory and work alive.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Ali Larijani, also offered condolences to Iranians.

Being the most praised Iranian classical singer, Shajarian was a musical icon who was cherished by a nation due to his peerless mastery and his sustained social impact as a performer and mentor. 

Shajarian, a master of Persian traditional music, began his career as a singer in 1959 at Radio Khorasan and rose to prominence in the 1960s with his distinct vocal style, which was technically flawless, powerful and intensely emotional.

From then on, he had an illustrious career, including teaching at Tehran University’s Department of Fine Arts, working at national radio and television, conducting research in Iranian music and making numerous important recordings in collaboration with renowned musicians and composers.

Shajarian has led the invention of many new Iranian classical musical instruments, including Kereshmeh, Saboo, Saghar, Sorahi and Tondar.

He was a vocalist of extraordinary power and finesse who embodied both the musical and moral qualities of a traditional master.

On top of being a composer of exquisite musical works, he handed down his artistic ingenuity to his son Homayoun, who is a widely popular traditional vocalist of Iran.

The maestro’s contributions to Persian classical music and his perseverance, innovations and humanitarian gestures have won him international acclaim.

The legendary Iranian vocalist received numerous awards. In 1999, UNESCO presented him with the prestigious Picasso Award, one of Europe's highest honors.

In 2003 and 2005, he was nominated for Grammy Awards in the Best World Music category for two of his respective popular albums, “Without You” and “Faryad”.

Tehran Mohammad Reza Shajarian Musical Iranian composer