Popular Assamese singer Dipali Barthakur, who lost her voice due to a nerve-degenerating disease and had inspired music maestro Bhupen Hazarika to strive to fill the void left by her, passed away after a prolonged illness on Friday afternoon. She was 77.Born in eastern Assam’s Sivasagar district in 1941, Ms. Barthakur moved millions with her soulful songs, the first of which was recorded when she was in high school. Her songs such as ‘Joubone Amoni Kore’ (Youth bothers me) and ‘Sunor kharu nelage muk’ (I don’t want golden bangles) have been all-time Assamese hits.Ms. Barthakur’s singing career was cut short in 1969 due to chronic motor neurosis that forced her to be on a wheelchair. That year, Dr. Hazarika penned ‘Khitore khemeka raati…’ as an ode to an “eternal song of a now voiceless, mesmerising singer that heralds in many a morning”.Ms .Barthakur was married to noted painter and Lalit Kala Akademi member Neel Paban Baruah. Their relationship was often likened to that of English poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who had become a recluse because of an impairing illness.“Her death is a big loss to the world of music,” Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said in a condolence message.