ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan pop icon Sunil Perera whose music inspired generations passed away in the early hours of Monday (06), media reports said.
The 68-year-old singer and musician had tested positive for COVID-19 in August and had to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a private hospital. He was then discharged having apparently recovered, only to be re-admitted late last week.
The Gypsies’ rendition of the classic Baila Nonstop was a staple on the dance floor of many a Sri Lankan wedding, party or carnival.
In his own right, Perera had a number of hits to his name that cemented his place in Sri Lankan popular culture. A man known for his rebellious streak, Perera didn’t hesitate to get political in the face of social injustice, with many of his songs reflecting his unconventional views. Perera was also known as a fearless critic of cultural norms that he considered backward and, both on and off stage, was a vociferous advocate of peaceful coexistence.
Sunil and his brother and fellow Gypsies’ member Piyal Perera were instrumental in putting together ‘Lowe Sama’, a massive collaboration that saw some of the biggest names in the industry collaborate on a song for peace, in what became Sri Lanka’s answer to ‘We Are the World’.
Tributes poured in from various corners following the news of his demise.
A great loss for #SriLanka’s entertainment scene as veteran musician Sunil Perera passed away.
My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the people of Sri Lanka. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/pjSha8oy4x
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) September 6, 2021
So sad to hear about #SunilPerera. When he was released from the hospital, I thought, at least one less thing to be sad about. What a great entertainer – and someone who lived his life joyfully and honestly. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/ZxDGMHYxEW
— Dr. Harini Amarasuriya (@Dr_HariniA) September 6, 2021
The passing of a legend. A kind, gentle and generous man who moved us with song and rhythm. Small made but giant in influence and heart. An icon but more to me a dear friend. Rest In Peace Sunil Aiya. We will miss you. You will sing with the angels now pic.twitter.com/p387pXb2HM
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) September 6, 2021
A sad good bye to Sunil Perera a true legend who entertained us from cradle to grave. RIP
— Sanath Jayasuriya (@Sanath07) September 6, 2021
Sunil Aiya our legend … you will be for ever missed by your family, every one in the music industry, the entire country and Sri Lankan’s living around the world. You were a pillar of strength to BNS during the years we started off! Goodbye our dear aiya, friend and legend !!!! pic.twitter.com/arj2uQKdu6
— Bathiya N Santhush (@BNSMUSIC) September 6, 2021