Indian actor Irrfan Khan dies at 53 from colon infection

SINGAPORE – Acclaimed Indian actor Irrfan Khan died in Mumbai on Wednesday (April 29) at the age of 53, after being hospitalised for a colon infection.

He had been battling cancer since March 2018, when he was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer, he took life as it came and fought the many battles that came with it. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven, leaving behind truly a legacy of his own.”

Khan, who made his film debut in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988), worked predominantly in Hindi cinema. Nair and Khan went on to collaborate again in the critically-acclaimed The Namesake (2006) and New York, I Love You (2009).

But he gained significant international acclaim after a string of high profile Hollywood roles, including Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016).

His highest-grossing Hindi release came with the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama Hindi Medium (2017), which also spawned the sequel, Angrezi Medium. The release of the film in March was cut short because of the coronavirus and turned out to be his last. 

Twitter was abuzz with reactions to his death.

Veteran Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: “Just getting news of the passing of Irrfan Khan .. this is a most disturbing and sad news. An incredible talent .. a gracious colleague .. a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema .. left us too soon .. creating a huge vacuum .. Prayers and duas”.

Indian actor Randeep Hooda, who stars in Netflix film Extraction, wrote: “Gone too soon is the inspiration and the entertainment #IrrfanKhan a great loss to cinema and the craft .. may you rest in peace, brother”.

Actress Priyanka Chopra, who has had a crossover career of her own, tweeted: “The charisma you brought to everything you did was pure magic. Your talent forged the way for so many in so many avenues…You inspired so many of us. #IrrfanKhan you will truly be missed. Condolences to the family.”

Indian politician Rahul Gandhi noted the late actor’s global impact, writing: “I’m sorry to hear about the passing of Irrfan Khan. A versatile & talented actor, he was a popular Indian brand ambassador on the global film and TV stage. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family, friends and fans in this time of grief.”

Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar also weighed in, noting: “Acting came so effortlessly to him, he was just terrific. May his soul Rest In Peace.”

Khan is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar, and sons Babil and Ayan. 

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