The Bollywood star had been battling a neuroendocrine tumor for two years
Indian actor Irrfan Khan died late on Tuesday at the age of 53, after being admitted to hospital in Mumbai earlier in the day over a colon infection. He had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor two years earlier.
“It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away,” read a statement issued by the actor’s representatives after his passing. “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,” it said.
“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. And to resonate and part with the words he had said: ‘As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it’,” it added.
Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar shared the news of Khan’s death on Twitter. “My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you… we shall meet again… condolences to Sutapa and Babil… you too fought, Sutapa you gave everything possible in this fight. Peace and Om shanti. Irfaan Khan salute,” he said.
Born to Muslim parents near Jaipur on Jan. 7, 1967, Irrfan was the eldest of three siblings. Khan was studying for his MA degree when he earned a scholarship to study at the National School of Drama in 1984. Shortly after his move, he acted in several TV shows before finally emerging on the silver screen in 1988 with Salaam Bombay. After doing television for years, he got his big break in Aasif Kapadia’s The Warrior.
The movie helped introduce Khan to audiences and he swiftly went from playing character roles to headlining films, eventually becoming one of India’s most recognized faces in the West.
In a career spanning over 30 years, he worked in Hindi cinema, British film and Hollywood. Danny Boyle called his 2008 Slumdog Millionaire performance “beautiful to watch,” while celebrated critic Roger Ebert noted his “subtle, engrossing work” in The Namesake.
Khan is survived by his wife, Sutapa Sikdar, and their two sons, Babil and Ayan.