Bollywood giant Irrfan Khan, who gave the world wonderful performances in award-winning films like "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008), "Life of Pi" (2012) and “The Lunchbox” (2013), died Wednesday, April 29, at age 53, CNN confirmed. The actor had gone into the hospital in Mumbai earlier this week for a colon infection, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and had battled a rare form of cancer since 2018.
"It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away," Khan’s PR agency, Hardly Anonymous Communications, said in a statement to CNN. "Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him."
Khan, who played cricket in his early 20s before studying acting, was acutely aware of the huge role he played for millions of Indian fans around the world. “The audiences feel proud when they see me working with Tom Hanks or in ‘Jurassic World’,” Khan told The Independent in 2016. “They have a sense of identity in the international market. I still remember when we did ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. I went to L.A. for the Oscar ceremony and I met this guy who was living there for 30 years and he said, ‘After this film somehow, people are recognizing me and giving me value’ and he was crying. So that’s what it does. It makes them feel, ‘We exist’.”
Khan is survived by his wife Sutapa Devendra Sikdar, and two sons, Babil and Ayan.
Below, fans and film colleagues mourn Khan’s unexpected passing on social media:
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.
rn— Shoojit Sircar (@ShoojitSircar) April 29, 2020
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 29, 2020
My friend…inspiration & the greatest actor of our times. Allah bless your soul Irrfan bhai…will miss you as much as cherish the fact that you were part of our lives.
rn“पैमाना कहे है कोई, मैखाना कहे है दुनिया तेरी आँखों को भी, क्या क्या ना कहे है” Love u pic.twitter.com/yOVoCete4A
rn— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) April 29, 2020
Nothing can be more heartbreaking and tragic than the news of passing away of a dear friend, one of the finest actors and a wonderful human being #IrrfanKhan. Saddest day!! May his soul rest in peace. #OmShanti ? pic.twitter.com/QSm05p7PfU
rn— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPKher) April 29, 2020
We’ll always be indebted to one of the finest actors this country has ever seen. RIP #Irrfankhan. pic.twitter.com/hPmw0KO5VG
rn— Sony Pictures India (@SonyPicsIndia) April 29, 2020
Heartfelt tribute to the Bollywood legend #IrrfanKhan on his untimely demise. My SandArt at Puri beach with message “… not taking a moment to say goodbye “ . #RIP? pic.twitter.com/XomsfwOgTm
rn— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) April 29, 2020