07/12/2016 15:56 GMT | Updated 07/12/2016 16:17 GMT

Junaid Jamshed Dead: Pakistani Pop Star Turned Islamic Preacher Killed In Plane Crash

He rocketed to fame in the 80s and 90s as the singer of rock group Vital Signs.

Pakistani pop star turned Islamic-preacher Junaid Jamshed is said to be among the 48 people believed to have been killed in a plane crash in Pakistan.

Jamshed rocketed to fame in Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s as the singer for the Vital Signs rock group, and later launched a solo career, with a string of chart-topping albums and hits.

Dubbed the “disco mullah”, he was awarded a Medal of Excellence by the President of Pakistan.

The 52-year-old’s name appeared on a passenger manifest for Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) flight PK661, which crashed near the northern town of Havelian on Wednesday.

His presence on board was confirmed by Sohail Ahmed, a PIA official in Chitral.

Members of his family, including his wife are also believed to have been on board.

Shakil Adil/AP
Relatives and friends of Pakistani singer-turned Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed, comfort each other outside his home following reports he died in plane crash

Jamshed retired from music in 2001 and announced he was devoting his life to Islam, joining the conservative Tableeghi Jamaat religious organisation.

In 2014 Jamshed was investigated for blasphemy after he was caught allegedly insulting one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives.

After the video went viral Jamshed released an apology in which pleaded: “This is my mistake and it is because of my ignorance, because of my lack of knowledge. With a clean heart I ask that Allah forgive me and I beg and beseech all Muslims to forgive me. This was not on purpose.”

Just three days before the plane crash, Jamshed posted an image of himself and his friends in Chitral to his 441,000 Twitter followers, describing it as “heaven on earth.”