Khan was born on October 13th, 1948 in a Punjabi family in Faisalabad. Following the footsteps of his father, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, who was a famous musicologist, vocalist and Qawwal, Khan went on to be famous for his way of Qawwali.
Khan sang mainly in Urdu and Punjabi and occasionally in Persian, Brajbhasha and Hindi.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan holds the world record for the largest recorded output by a Qawwali artist—a total of 125 albums as of 2001.
Khan was taken ill with kidney and liver failure on August 11, 1997 in London, England. While, on the way to Los Angeles in order to receive a kidney transplant, he died of a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital, London, on Saturday, August 16, 1997, aged 48.