Malaysian pop singer Siti Sarah, whose career earned her critical success and major awards in the 2000s, has died. She was 36 years old.
The news arrived yesterday (August 9) after it was learned that Siti, who was eight months pregnant, had given birth to her fourth child via C-section. Channel NewsAsia reported that Siti passed away that morning after the procedure had been successful.
Prior to the procedure, the singer had been admitted to the hospital after being tested positive for COVID-19. New Straits Times reported on Friday (August 6) that Siti and her family tested positive on July 25, and she was sent via ambulance due to low oxygen levels soon after.
Siti’s husband, comedian Shuib Sepahtu, shared his final moments with the singer in a news report.
“With the help of the nurses and doctor, I was able to make the video call and that was the last time my kids and I would lay our eyes on her while she was still alive,” he said, per New Straits Times. “At the time, I saw tears streaming down her cheeks, as if she understood what we were saying to her.”
Siti made waves in the 2000s when she released her debut album, ‘Sarah’, which contains her biggest hit, ‘Kesetiaan’.
While the singer had not released a full-length album since 2005’s ‘Tiada Dikau Tiada Makna’, she continued to issue singles throughout the next decade or so. In June 2020, Siti unveiled her final single, ‘Semakin Benci Semakin Cinta’, a duet with Sepahtu.
Following the news, tributes have poured in online, including one by the country’s royalty. “Their Majesties pray for her soul to be blessed by Allah SWT and placed among the righteous,” read an official Facebook statement, as translated by The Star. The Malaysian King and Queen also expressed their sadness over the passing and sent their thoughts to her immediate family.
Pop singer Siti Nurhaliza paid her condolences to Siti on Instagram Stories, while her label Indigital Music, YouTuber Jin Lim and Singaporean actress Hannah Delisha also mourned the singer’s passing on social media. One fan paid tribute by highlighting the hardship Siti faced as established herself early in her career.
“Siti Sarah grew up in difficult circumstances, received mean remarks in the beginning of her career because she didn’t fit the society’s beauty standards…and emerged to become the voice of Malay pop in the early 2000s due to her sheer talent & hard work,” they wrote on Twitter.
Others marked her passing as a grim reminder of COVID-19’s severe impact in Malaysia. The country continues to battle its strongest wave yet. On August 9, it recorded 17,236 new positive cases with 212 deaths, according to Malaysia’s Ministry Of Health.
See all the tributes below.
Assalamualaikum semua.Dengan berat hati dan berdukacita, kami ingin memaklumkan bahawasanya Siti Sarah Raissuddin…
All my strength, love & prayers to Siti Sarah's family during this heartbroken time.
May Almighty Allah grant her eternal peace. 💔😔
— Hannah Delisha (@HANNAHDELISHA_) August 9, 2021
Rest in peace Siti Sarah. Prayers out to the family. such sad news to wake up to
— Jin Lim 🏴 (@Jinnyboy) August 9, 2021
Siti Sarah grew up in difficult circumstances, received mean remarks in the beginning of her career because she didn't fit the society's beauty standards…and emerged to become the voice of Malay pop in the early 2000s due to her sheer talent & hard work.
— Faizal Hamssin (@faizalhamssin) August 9, 2021
Siti Sarah will be remembered and mourned by the whole nation, but don't forget, kita ada 10,388 lagi kes yang melibatkan someone's father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend.
We mourn for them. We mourn for those who are still in the ICU's battling for their lives.
— The Comedian (@SyazanaMI) August 9, 2021