A press statement issued earlier this week said that Sharifah Aini, who turned 61 on Wednesday, was diagnosed with lung fibrosis, also known as interstitial lung disease, two years ago.
Consulting respiratory physician Datuk Dr Zainudin Md Zain, who was treating the songstress, had said that the condition is rare and causes hardening or scarring of the lungs.
The statement added that Sharifah Aini was taken to the hospital by her son Aliff Omar Ali after she developed breathing difficulties.
Sharifah Aini first broke into the entertainment industry in 1969, following her victory in a talent show, Juara Bintang RTS (Radio Television Singapore), with the song Tiga Malam the year before.
She was noted for a string of hits over the years including Hapuslah Airmatamu, Seri Dewi Malam, Dekatlah Padaku, Bunga Tanjung and Mak Inang Melayu, a duet with the late Datuk Sudirman Arshad, and many more.
Bernama reported that Sharifah Aini was accorded the Biduanita Negara title, the country’s highest award for female artistes for her contributions to the music industry, people and country. Past title holders included the late Puan Sri Saloma, the wife of the legendary Tan Sri P. Ramlee.
Sharifah Aini received the Panglima Jasa Negara award, which carries the title “Datuk”, from the federal government in June 2003.