Malaysia’s queen of songs Sharifah Aini dies

Malaysia's queen of songs Datuk Sharifah Aini Syed Jaafar has died early this morning, just three days after turning 61.

Astro Awani reported that Sharifah (pic), who had been diagnosed with lung fibrosis two years ago, died at the Damanasara Specialist Centre, where she was admitted after suffering from breathing complications on July 1.

Sharifah (pic, right) was Malaysia's best known songstress, and began her singing career in 1968 after winning the Juara Bintang RTS (Radio Television Singapore) competition with the song, Tiga Malam, in 1968.

Famous for the song, Seri Dewi Malam, she was accorded the rare title of Biduanita Negara for her contribution to the Malay music industry, the only other recipient of the title being the late Saloma, wife of legendary actor P Ramlee. In June 2003, she received the Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) award which carries the title "Datuk".

Born in Singapore to Syed Jaafar Syed Sahil and Sharifah Noor Syed Ahmad Al-Attas, her childhood was spent in Johor Baru.

Sharifah's love for singing started during this period, when she would be invited to sing at weddings and school events. She had also won Quran recitation contests tilawah Al-Quran several times.

She was the only local artist who had stayed with the same recording company, EMI Malaysia, earning her an entry in the Malaysian Book of Records.

Funeral prayers will be held at Masjid At Taqwa in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, before burial at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery later today. – July 5, 2014.