Indian hockey legend Mohammad Shahid, who was being treated in a private hospital in Gurgaon, passed away today due to multiple organ failure.
The 56-year-old legend was admitted to the hospital this month after a bout of jaundice and dengue made his condition worse. He was earlier airlifted from Varanasi.
He was also a part of the national team that won a silver medal at the Delhi Asian Games in 1982 and bronze in the Seoul Asiad in 1986.
"In the late 70’s and early 80’s, you didn’t go to watch hockey. You went to watch magic; mesmerizing magic created by a man from Benares called Mohammed Shahid," wrote Sundeep Misra, a long-time hockey correspondent, for Firstpost.
"Those were the kind of skills that couldn’t be taught. No amount of coaching camps, elite coaches could create supple wrists that, honestly, were an extension of the hockey stick. Shahid, short but lithe displayed his dribbling skills like a card-dealer in a casino."
The internet was full of praise for the man who many consider as one of the greatest Indians to have ever played the game.
We tried our level best to save Mohammed Shahid but sadly, neither our help nor prayers were enough to save him. Tributes to him. RIP.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 20, 2016
In the untimely & unfortunate demise of Mohammed Shahid, India has lost a talented sportsman who played with immense passion & vigour.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 20, 2016
RIP Mohammad Shahid - one of India's greatest hockey players has died today. I've had the privilege of watching his magic in 1989.— Sanjoy Majumder (@BBCSanjoyM) July 20, 2016
In Mohammad Shahid, we have lost one of the legends of world hockey.
Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/KWWbq6nFwy— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) July 20, 2016
My heart goes out to family of Hocky Wizrd Md Shahid,no more wid us.Dribble champ will continue inspirg genratns RIP pic.twitter.com/Lpe4wVRU6i— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) July 20, 2016
The great Mohd Shahid is no more. The best dribbler of a hockey ball I ever saw: a childhood legend. RIP— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 20, 2016
Deeply saddened by the demise of Indian hockey legend Mohd Shahid.Was a treat to watch him dribble,a big reason to watch hockey.RIPSuperstar— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) July 20, 2016
Remembering the time during the 1980 Games in Moscow, M K Kaushik, who was one of the closest friends of Shahid, told PTI:
"He was quite young in 1980 and were very senior to him. He respected every one and had a jolly nature. His dribbling skills played a crucial part in India winning the gold. The whole world respected his excellent stick work. There was no one who could match him whether it was a creating a penalty corner or firing a field goal."
Writing for the Times of India, Rajesh Kalra shared this anecdote:
One of the things we used to do to improve our concentration was to bounce the ball on the blade of our stick. Several others in the national team then could bounce the ball on the reverse of the blade that was curved, and the ball would always be in their control. But how was Shahid different? He would talk to you, look here and there and rotate the stick with the ball bobbing up and down his stick, as if tied to a string.
Finally, we leave you with this:
For the generation that wasn't around, Mohd Shahid was a dazzling forward. One of India's finest.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 20, 2016
What a legend! Indian hockey has lost a crown jewel.
Featured image source: Twitter
With PTI inputs