The Kathak example, one of India's most popular artistes, had been experiencing a kidney sickness and was under dialysis therapy.

Legendary  Kathak artist Birju Maharaj died at his home early in the morning of January 17, his granddaughter stated. He would have been 84 years old in next month.

Maharaj-ji, as he was prominently known, died when he was surrounded by his family. They were playing 'antakshari' after dinner when he abruptly became sick.

Birju Maharaj, one of India's most popular and most adored artistes, was from Lucknow's Kalka-Bindadin Gharana. He had five children, three daughters and two son, and five grandkids.

He had been facing a kidney disease and was under dialysis treatment for the last month because of high diabetes. He most likely passed away from a heart failure, his granddaughter said.

In his last interview, Birju Maharaj had said the eventual fate of Kathak, one of the most elegant old style dance structures, will be splendid in India with the new age taking the art forward.

Legend called Pandit-ji or Maharaj-ji by his legions and disciples of followers, he had said the coming generation has a lot bigger number of chances to learn than in his time.