Indian actor Irrfan Khan, a star of movies “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi” has died at the age of 53.
Khan’s death, after a prolonged battle with cancer, was confirmed on Wednesday by a spokesman in a brief statement.
“He fought the many battles that came with it,” the spokesman said, referring to the diagnosis of Khan’s rare cancer in 2018.
Khan was among the first Indian actors to make a consistent mark in western cinema, following on from earlier crossover pioneers, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth and Om Puri.
Wide-eyed Khan, who enjoyed art house acclaim in his native India, also had Hollywood success in “Jurassic World”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “The Namesake” and “Inferno”.
He was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018 and underwent extensive treatment in London. He recovered well enough to shoot what would turn out to be his last film “Angrezi Medium”, the release of which was cut short abruptly due to the spread of coronavirus.
On Tuesday, he was admitted into the intensive care unit of Mumbai’s Kokilaben hospital with a colon infection.
Born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan in the western desert state of Rajasthan, in a family with no ties to cinema, the actor recalled in interviews that, as children, he and his siblings were not allowed to watch movies.
The only exception was when a visiting uncle took them to the theatre.
“An incredible talent,” said Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, among the tributes on Twitter. “A gracious colleague. A prolific contributor to the world of cinema .. left us too soon creating a huge vacuum.”
Another well-known director, Karan Johar, said, “Thank you for raising the bar as an artist … Thank you for enriching our cinema… We will miss you terribly, Irrfan.”
Khan is survived by his wife Sutapa and sons Babil and Ayan.