New Delhi: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday led the nation in condoling the death of noted singer Bhupen Hazarika and paying rich tributes to the maestro.

In her condolence message, the President said: "Dr. Hazarika was a creative genius whose deep baritone voice was instantly recognized by poetry and music lovers across the nation."

"His use of folk music with a touch of the contemporary made his compositions unique in their own way. In his passing away, the nation has lost a music maestro and an artiste of exceptional ability," she added.

In his message, Manmohan Singh said: "It is with great sorrow that I learnt of the passing away of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika."

"In Dr. Hazarika's sad demise, India has lost one of its most gifted artists. Dr. Hazarika's extraordinary talent encompassed not only music and literature but also cinema acting and direction. His contribution greatly enriched our cultural landscape and his influence on Assamese art and culture was particularly profound," he said.

The Prime Minister said the void that has been created because of the veteran singer's death cannot be filled.

"The reverence with which Dr. Hazarika was looked up to and the innumerable awards that he received are a tribute to his dazzling brilliance and creativity, and his love for the people. The void that Dr. Hazarika's passing away has caused will never be filled".

The 85-year-old Hazarika passed away in a Mumbai hospital Saturday.

"On this sad occasion, I offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends and countless admirers of Dr. Hazarika," the Prime Minister added.

Conveying her condolence, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said Hazarika was a multifaceted personality and exponent of national integration.

"Hazarika was a multifaceted personality who inspired millions across generation with the power of his music, voice and creativity. He was a true exponent of national integration. It will be extremely difficult to fill the vacuum created by his untimely death," Soni said in her condolence message.

Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari recalled Hazarika's association with the party as he paid tributes to him.

"Shri Hazarika played a pro-active role in promoting the cultural heritage of Assam through his films and music. He was a versatile singer who spread the message of amity, equality and universal brotherhood," he said.

(Agencies)