The Indian sports fraternity extended their condolences on the passing of hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior.

The former hockey player died at the age of 96 in a private hospital in Chandigarh on Monday, his family said. His condition was critical for nearly a fortnight.

“Saddened to hear about the passing of the legend, Balbir Singh Sr. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this time of sorrow,” wrote India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli.

“Deeply pained to hear the news about passing of legendary Balbir Singh Senior ji (Three time Olympic Gold Medalist) He will continue to be a source of inspiration for our generations My hearfelt condolences to his family and friends May his soul rest in peace (sic),” tweeted India’s ace boxer Vijender Singh.

“Legends never truly leave, they live on in the hearts of people. #BalbirSingh ji, thank you for the decades of great hockey and for inspiring us. Condolences to the family,” wrote out-of-favour India batsman Suresh Raina.

Balbir was part of the Indian teams that won gold at the 1948 London Olympics, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956. His record for most individual goals scored in an Olympic men’s hockey final remains unbeaten.

Balbir had set this record when he scored five goals in India’s 6-1 win over Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Games.

(With stats and inputs from IANS)