Bharatanatyam dancer Saroja Vaidyanathan died at her residence here in the early hours of Thursday after battling cancer, her daughter-in-law and dancer Rama Vaidyanathan said. She had turned 86 on September 19.
"She passed away at around 4 am today morning. She had been battling with cancer for some time now," Rama told PTI.
The classical dancer was conferred the Padma Shri in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2013. Vaidyanathan was known for her extensive contribution to Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music in the form of 10 full-length ballets and nearly 2,000 choreographies.
Rama remembered her mother-in-law and guru for leaving a 50-year-old legacy behind in the form of Ganesa Natyalaya, a classical dance school in the national capital.
"It is now our duty to take her legacy forward. I remember her for the love and affection she gave all of us. Where I am today is solely because of her," Rama said.
The last rites will be performed at the Lodhi Crematorium on Friday at 2 pm.
Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy took to X to pay condolences on Vaidyanathan's demise.
"Saddened by the news of the passing away of Smt Dr Saroja Vaidyanathan - revered 'Bharatanatyam' Guru & Padma Bhushan Awardee and a prolific choreographer. Her contributions to the field of art & culture are laudable. My condolences to the family of Dr Saroja Vaidyanathan," Reddy posted.
Bharatanatyam dancer and Rajya Sabha MP Sonal Mansingh also remembered Vaidyanathan for her "immense contribution to the dance world".
"Legendary Bharatnatyam exponent Guru Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan passed away this morning leaving behind a rich legacy. My condolences to the family. Her contribution to the dance world has been immense, her loss will be deeply felt amongst the dance fraternity (sic)" Mansingh wrote on the microblogging site.