Legendary Singapore composer and musician Iskandar Mirza Ismail has died. He was 58.
He reportedly passed on at 3.10am this morning due to lung and brain cancer. He was succeded by wife Erniawaty Sorainto, son Emil and daughter Valerie.
Iskandar received the Cultural Medallion award in 2008 for his extensive body of work in the Singapore music scene. The eldest of five born to singers Ismail Kassim and Nona Asiah, Iskandar won the John Lewis Jazz Masters Award in 1978 for excellence in jazz music.
He composed the scores for various musicals including Chang and Eng, Sing To The Dawn and Phua Chu Kang The Musical. He was the mastermind behind the musical direction for Chingay parades, the 2009 Asian Youth Games as well as the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. He has been involved in various National Day Parades since 1988.
He was honoured as the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year in 2003.
Iskandar was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer four years ago. His condition deteriorated since then, affecting his brain cells. In his book The Music Man released last year, it was reported that he was in the clear after the third round of chemotherapy was completed that year.
Tributes are pouring in on social media. Theatre director and Lush 99.5FM DJ Loretta Chen said on Facebook, “Thank you for the music, the inspiration, your unwavering faith and belief in me and the life lessons, sir.”
FM Pop Music School director Jim Lim said on Facebook, “You will always have my utmost respect, Singapore’s very own Music Man, one of our pioneers in music. You have lived a life of immense quality and have been a great inspiration to all of us.”
987FM DJ Joakim Gomez worked with Iskandar when he was on TV show Singapore Idol in 2006, He said on Facebook, “He was one of the first few who believed in me, and spurred me on during Singapore Idol 2006. He brought life and music to wherever he went.”
“His smile, laughter and cheerful outlook in life was infectious. He gave me plenty of opportunities to perform, and believed in me when I was a lost lil’ kid in this industry. I’ll miss you very much.”
The body is now at the home of his mother Nona. It will be prayed for at the Kassim Mosque later this afternoon.
Watch blogger mrbrown speak to Iskandar in 2009 about his work for the National Day Parade: