Singh was 91 years old.
His death comes just days after his wife, Nirmal Kaur, also died from the virus. She was a former volleyball captain in the country. She was 85 years old.
Singh’s family released a statement saying he “fought hard”.
“He fought hard but God has his means,” the family said, according to the Associated Press. Singh was diagnosed with the virus on May 20.
Singh was one of the most decorated athletes in his country’s history, making the Olympic team in 1956, 1960 and 1964. In 1958 he became India’s first gold medalist in the 400 meters at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
At the Rome Summer Olympics in 1960, he finished fourth in the 400m, narrowly missing bronze in what would have been his only Olympic medal.
He won four gold medals at the Asian Games: 200 meters (1958), 400 meters (1958 and 1962) and 4 × 400 relay (1962). He also won gold medals at the 1958 Indian National Games: 200m and 400m.
Singh served in the Indian Army, where he reached the rank of captain.
Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi called Singh a “colossal sportsman, who captured the nation’s imagination and who had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians” during a tribute this weekend.
“Her inspirational personality has won over millions of people,” Modi said in a tweet.
Singh was born in a part of India that was not divided, but is now Pakistan. In his youth, he saw his parents and siblings killed by mobs during riots in the Punjab region of British India that left nearly a million Hindu and Sikhs dead. At that point, Singh escaped to a nearby jungle and hopped on a train to New Delhi, where he joined the army.
His story of growing up in a tragedy, escaping for refuge, joining the military and becoming a famous athlete has been passed down from generation to generation in the country.
Singh has a son, Jeev Milkha Singh, who is a professional golfer. He is also survived by three daughters.
Singh is just one of the stories from India, where COVID-19 has hit so hard this spring that gargantuan amounts of international aid from countries around the world, including China, have found their way.