Nirmal Shekar, former sports editor of The Hindu and former editor of Sportstar, passed away in Chennai on Wednesday night at the age of 60.
Nirmal is survived by his mother, wife, son and daughter. His funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon, according to a report in The Hindu.
He was one of India’s most widely read sports writers and his career that spanned more than three decades. He joined The Hindu in 1980 and retired on 30 September, 2015.
He took on the role of the newspaper's sports editor in 2003 and charge of Sportstar in early 2012. He was also part of the visiting faculty at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai and taught sports journalism to budding writers.
Nirmal was admired for his coverage of cricket and tennis events, especially the Grand Slams and Davis Cup. His articles on Roger Federer, Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Schumacher made him a household name in the south. He also used to record a popular weekly podcast called "Saturdays with Shekar".
In an interview about his approach to writing, Nirmal said: “I don’t restrict myself to sports, but try and bring in a life’s perspective; try understanding the psychology of sports and fit sports into the wider context, rather than stick to the backhands and the cover drives alone.”
After his retirement, he remained a columnist with The Hindu. His last article was published on 28 January, 2017.
Sports commentators like Harsha Bhogle and fans paid their tribute and expressed their condolences on social media.
What! Nirmal Shekar no more? That is so sad. Fine tennis writer and part of that top team at the Hindu
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 1, 2017
Just received the news that eminent #sports journalist Nirmal Shekhar is no more. Prayers for the departed soul, condolences to his family.
— Vijay Goel (@VijayGoelBJP) February 1, 2017
For a 70s/80s kid interested in words, Nirmal Shekar was one of the few *writers* around. He didn't just report. He felt. He wrote.
— Baradwaj Rangan (@baradwajrangan) February 2, 2017
Limitation in vocabulary and/or imagination for sports fans was compensated by reading his work. RIP, Nirmal Shekar. One of the best writers
— Sivaram (@SivaramL) February 2, 2017
Just heard former Sports Editor of The Hindu Nirmal Shekar is no more. Stalwart of the field for so long. Big loss.
— Vinayakk (@vinayakkm) February 1, 2017
‘Tennis without [Roger & Rafa] …will deprive us of the champagne stuff that fizzed, sparkled & sprayed on the audience.’
— Nirmal Shekar
— N. Ram (@nramind) February 2, 2017
Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 17:51 PM