Prolific writer and poet Syed Shamsul Haq died at a hospital in Dhaka on Tuesday evening after suffering from lung cancer. He was 81.
He breathed his last around 5:26pm at United Hospital in Gulshan, confirmed Sazzadur Rahman Shuvo, public relations officer of the hospital.
He is survived by his wife Anwara Syed Haq, son Ditio Syed Haq and daughter Bidita Sadi, along with relatives and thousands of well-wishers.
After being diagnosed with lung cancer, Shamsul went to London, UK on April 15 for treatment at Royal Marsden Hospital, but returned on September 2 as doctors in London said there was no hope of cure for him, the UNB reported.
Since his return, he has been undergoing treatment at United Hospital.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the ailing poet at the hospital on September 10 where she promised to take up that all expenses of his treatment.
On Monday, as his condition deteriorated, he was transferred to the ICU and was put on life support.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Abdul Hamid have expressed profound shock at the death of the famed poet.
In his message of condolence, the president said his death was an irreparable loss for Bangla literature.
“The strong writing of Syed Shamsul Haq, a soldier of pro-liberation forces, will show path to the nation forever,” he said.
In her message, the prime minister termed the poet conscience of the nation.
She said the country had lost a writer who devoted to the truth. “He viewed Bangali, Bangladesh and Bangabandhu as inseparable entities and through his powerful writings he showed the nation the dream of a secular country,” she said.
They prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and conveyed sympathy to the grieving family members.
Shamsul's body will be taken to Bangla Academy at 10am on Wednesday, and later at Central Shaheed Minar at 11am for people from all walks of life to pay their last respects.
The poet wished to be buried in the compound of Kurigram Government College, his family members said.
A decorative life
Born in Kurigram on December 27, 1935, Shamsul Haq rose to fame with his incredible creation of poetry, plays and short stories.
Considered to be a pioneer of modern Bangla literature, Shamsul has written stirring poems such as Ekoda Ek Rajjey (1961), Boishakhey Rochito Ponktimala (1969), Birotihin Utsab (1969, Protidhwonigon (1976) and Opor Purush (1978).
He put diverse expressions of different Bangla dialects suitably together in the context of modern expression which took his creations to an extraordinary height.
Besides poems, he also wrote more than 50 novels including Stobdhotar Onubad ( 1987), Nishiddho Loban (1990), Khelaram Kheley Ja (1991) and Ayna Bibir Pala.
His plays Payer Awaj Paqa Jay and Nuruldiner Sara Jibon set a milestone for modern Bangla theatre.
He also wrote many songs, some of which gained much popularity, and translated world classics like Shakespeare's Macbeth, Tempest, Troilus and Cresida, and Ibsen's Pyr Gynt.
Shamsul won the Bangla Academy Award in 1966, Ekushey Padak in 1984 and Independence Award in 2000 for his contribution to Bangla literature.
Watch his interview