Actor Irrfan Khan has died at the age of 53. He was one of India’s biggest stars, and found international acclaim for his work.
The star had been battling a rare form of cancer, a neuroendocrine tumour, since 2018. He was admitted to an ICU in Mumbai with a colon infection on Tuesday, and died on Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed.
“Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him,” said the spokesperson in a statement. “After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer … he 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 a legacy of his own.”
He leaves behind his wife, Sutapa Sikdar, and their two sons, Babil and Ayan. Khan first met Sidkar while studying theatre at the National School of Drama in Delhi, and they married in 1995.
Khan was known for his many roles in Indian and Bollywood films: he was a familiar face on screens in India, starting out in the 1980s in smaller roles in TV serials and movies. But the film that really propelled him to lead-actor status was 2012’s Paan Singh Tomar.
His biggest films include The Lunchbox, Hindi Medium, Piku and Haider. His last film, Angrezi Medium, came out earlier this year.
A true crossover star, Khan was one of the most recognised Indian actors to those more familiar with Hollywood movies. He also appeared in Life of Pi, Jurassic World, The Amazing Spider-Man, A Mighty Heart and The Darjeeling Limited.
Khan was also renowned for his work in Mira Nair’s 2006 film The Namesake, for which he won an Independent Spirit Award. He was due to appear in 2022 American film The Wicked Path, according to his IMDb page, but the film is still in pre-production.