Movies

Indian actor Irrfan Khan, 53, dies from cancer

Mumbai – Acclaimed Indian actor Irrfan Khan, whose international movie career included hits such as Slumdog Millionaire, Jurassic World, Life Of Pi and The Amazing Spider-Man, has died aged 53 after battling cancer, his publicist said Wednesday.

The Bollywood star, who was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018, was admitted to a Mumbai hospital earlier this week with a colon infection.

“Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him,” his publicist said in a statement.

The father of two acted in almost 100 films, winning awards and the admiration of his peers for his nuanced performances.

But his life took a tragic turn in 2018, when he was diagnosed with cancer. The news devastated his fans and India’s film community.

Khan took a sabbatical to seek treatment in London – accompanied by his family – before returning to play a middle-aged father in Angrezi Medium, a follow-up to the 2017 hit Hindi Medium.

He suffered a relapse in the months leading up to the film’s release, however, forcing him back to Britain.

In an interview with the Mumbai Mirror newspaper in March 2020, he described life after the diagnosis as “a rollercoaster ride, a memorable one”.

“Happy moments were underlined because of the inherent uncertainty. We cried a little and laughed a lot,” he said. 

“An incredible talent,” said Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, among the tributes on Twitter that followed Khan’s death. “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.” - AFP/REUTERS

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