NEW DELHI (AP) - With an instrument perplexing to most Westerners, Ravi Shankar helped connect the world through music. The sitar virtuoso mentored a Beatle, became a hippie musical icon and spearheaded the first rock benefit concert as he introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over nearly a century.
From George Harrison to John Coltrane, from Yehudi Menuhin to David Crosby, his connections reflected music's universality, though a gap persisted between Shankar and many Western fans. Sometimes they mistook tuning for tunes, while he stood aghast at displays like Jimi Hendrix's burning guitar.
"My Dad's music touched millions of people," his daughter, musician Norah Jones, said in a statement. "He will be greatly missed by me and music lovers everywhere."
In this Aug. 3, 1967, file photo, George Harrison, of the Beatles, left, sits cross-legged with his musical mentor, Ravi Shankar of India, in Los Angeles.
Shankar died Tuesday at age 92. A statement on his website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home with his wife and a daughter by his side. The musician's foundation issued a statement saying that he had suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also confirmed Shankar's death and called him a "national treasure." Ringo Starr called Shankar's death "a great loss musically, spiritually and physically."
Labeled "the godfather of world music" by Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.