Irrfan Khan, leading Indian actor known for his roles in internationally-acclaimed films Life Of Pi, The Lunchbox, Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake and Jurassic World, has died aged 53.
The star, who was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor in 2018, was admitted to a Mumbai hospital this week with a colon infection. Sadly, he passed away on Wednesday, April 29, as confirmed by his representatives.
Khan was rose to fame for his versatile skills and roles, became India’s face in the West. Known as a self-made actor, and disciplined professional who continued to act even after the diagnosis of his illness in 2018, his final film Angrezi Medium having hit screens just prior to pandemic-induced lockdown.
In a moving statement to the Indian media, Khan’s family said :
“A man of few words and an actor of silent expressions with his deep eyes and his memorable actions on screen. It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away. Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him. After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer, he took life soon after as it came and he fought the many battles that came with it. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven abode, leaving behind truly a legacy of his own. We all pray and hope that he is at peace.”
Irrfan’s untimely passing has been met with a flood of condolences from Bollywood and beyond. Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan who called Khan “an incredible talent” and “a gracious colleague.” Others, including Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Anupam Kher, etc. have also paid tribute to the brilliant actor.
Widely regarded as one of India’s finest actors, Khan’s engaging screen presence saw him become an adored presence in the West as well. Across his 30-year career, the National Film Award-winning actor was known for successful movies including Paan Singh Tomar, Haider, Gunday and box office smash Hindi Medium in India, while achieving success internationally for his part in Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2009), BAFTA-nominated The Warrior (2001), and Cannes hit The Lunchbox (2013).
Local media reports have revealed that Khan’s mother had passed away on Saturday with the actor following the funeral via video link due to pandemic restrictions and his own ill health. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Rest in peace, Irrfan Khan. The film industry and the world will never be the same without you.