NEW DELHI: Irrfan Khan, a veteran character actor in Bollywood movies and one of India’s most well-known exports to Hollywood, has died. He was 54.
Khan died Wednesday after he was admitted to Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital due to a colon infection, his spokesperson said.
“Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him,” a statement released by the actor’s team read.
Khan made his screen debut in the Academy Award-nominated 1988 drama “Salaam Bombay!,” a tale of Mumbai city’s street children.
The acclaimed actor was also involved in blockbusters such as “Slumdog Millionaire,” which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009. He portrayed the park executive Masrani in “Jurassic World” and also appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the adventure fantasy “Life of Pi.”
He worked with directors like Mira Nair, Wes Anderson and Ang Lee.
The actor in 2018 had been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer and underwent months of treatment in the United Kingdom.
“I trust, I have surrendered,” Khan wrote in a heartfelt note after he broke the news of his battle with cancer.
Khan won a number of domestic film awards in India, including a 2012 Indian National Film Award for best actor for his performance in “Paan Singh Tomar,” a compelling tale of a seven-time national champion athlete who quit India’s armed forces to rule the Chambal ravines in central India.
Khan received an Independent Spirit Award for supporting actor in 2006 Indian-American drama “The Namesake” and a viewers’ choice award at the Cannes festival 2013 for his role in Indian romantic drama “The Lunchbox.”
Tributes came from Bollywood, including from Amitabh Bachchan, who said Khan was an “incredible talent” and “a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema.”
Khan “left us too soon,” Bachchan wrote on Twitter.
In an interview with The Associated Press in 2018, Khan had said: “I’ve seen life from a completely different angle. You sit down and you see the other side and that’s fascinating. I’m engaged on a journey.”
Khan’s last Bollywood movie, “Angrezi Medium,” a sequel to one of his biggest hits, “Hindi Medium” (2017), was released before India went into a lockdown in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He is survived by his wife, television writer and producer Sutapa Sikdar, and sons, Babil and Ayan.