New Delhi (AFP)

Milkha Singh, one of India's most famous sportsmen and athletics champion nicknamed the "Flying Sikh" died of Covid-19 at the age of 91, Indian media reported on Friday.

"We have lost a colossus of sport, who had captured the imagination of the nation and who held a special place in the hearts of countless Indians," reacted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social networks.

"Daddy just died," Jeev Milkha Singh, son of the deceased and internationally renowned golfer, told Indian Express.

Milkha Singh had tested positive for the coronavirus on May 20.

His wife also died of the disease, according to this newspaper.

Born in 1929 in Govindpura, which later became Pakistani territory, he lost his whole family during the partition of the country between India and Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947. He came fourth at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 over 400 m, with the time of 45.73 seconds, a record in India which remained so for nearly forty years.

However, he never managed to win an Olympic medal.

His exploits, however, inspired the cinema of his country with a film released in 2013: "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" (Course, Milkha, course).

A reference to his father's last words urging him to flee otherwise he could be killed - like him - in the riots generated by the score.

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