ECONOMYNEXT –Eliantha White, one of Sri Lanka’s most influential self-proclaimed spiritual healers who was known to be the personal physician of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and had also famously treated World Cup-winning cricket captain Lasith Malinga and Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar, passed away from COVID-19 on Wednesday (22).
The 48-year old healer was in charge of Rajapaksa’s health from the first term of his presidency, a source from the prime minister’s office said.
White received overnight international fame when he purportedly cured Sri Lankan fast bowler Malinga of a career-threatening leg injury, which was earlier said to be incurable by Australian medical experts.
“I would not have played another 11 years if not for Dr Eliantha White,” Malinga said when he retired in 2019.
Malinga led the Sri Lanka team to win the ICC T20 cricket World Cup in 2014.
“My foot injury in 2008 … was actually a miraculously healed injury. Thanks to you I was able to go to greater heights in my career and for that, I am forever grateful,” Malinga tweeted responding to White’s sudden death.
White later went on to help Indian players like Tendulkar, Ashish Nehra, and Gautam Gambhir.
Various quarters including opposition politicians in parliament have raised questions about his qualification to become a doctor. Some who claimed to have traced his roots said he had once been a singer named Imesh Rangana. However, White never bothered to respond to his critics.
There were also criticisms against him that he was given two jeeps and 13 police officers for his protection by Rajapaksa.
But all those who got his treatment thanked him in public and told their injuries were no more.
“I’m deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dr Eliyantha White,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa tweeted.
“My deepest condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time. His legacy will continue to live through all the lives he touched and healed of various ailments.”
White had claimed that his miraculous curing power had come at the age of 12 and he had been using medical plants from the Indian Himalayas for the treatments.
A local TV channel reported that there was an attempt to kill White on the wee hours of February 28, 2014, when unidentified gunmen in a motor bicycle opened fire at his silver car. White was not inside the car when the shooting took place.
“I do not have any enemies. I don’t know if somebody is trying to bring down the position I have earned hard,” he told the TV channel.
In November last yea,r White claimed he could end the pandemic in Sri Lanka and neighbouring India by pouring pots of his “blessed” water into rivers.
Endorsing his prescription, three Sri Lankan ministers including former health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi dropped the pots of White’s blessed water. However, COVID-19 spreading accelerated in 2020.
Malinga’s good word led India’s all-time cricket great Sachin Tendulkar to seek White’s treatment. In a Sinhala paper, White had claimed that it only took three hours to heel Tendulkar just before the 2011 ICC World Cup.
Tendulkar publicly thanked him for treating the knee injury, saying it helped him hit the first-ever one-day international double century against South Africa.
White, who refused the COVID-19 vaccine, had also been photographed with Indian Bollywood actors including Salman Khan and Sharukh Khan.
White also has claimed that he had treated nine heads of state of different countries without naming them. (Colombo/Sep23/2021)