Mumbai, Apr 29 (PTI) Irrfan Khan, as much at home in the Hollywood superhero film “The Amazing Spiderman” as in the introspective “The Lunchbox”, lost his battle with a rare form of cancer and died in a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday. He was 54.
Irrfan, one of India’s finest and most versatile actors, is survived by his wife Sutapa and his sons Babil and Ayaan. He was buried at the Versova graveyard.
It is the second tragedy for the family in less than a week. The “Maqbool” actor lost his mother, 95-year-old Saeeda Begum, in Jaipur just four days ago and could not attend the funeral because of the nationwide lockdown.
Irrfan, that rare artiste who straddled multiple worlds, making his mark in both international and Indian cinema in roles intense and light-hearted, was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital with a colon infection.
He was surrounded by his loved ones in his last moments.
News of the death of the actor, who was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour in 2018, a rare form of cancer that attacks various parts of the body, was confirmed by his family in a statement.
“I trust, I have surrendered,” the family recalled him as saying when he was diagnosed with the disease.
There was an outpouring of grief from various quarters, including politicians and civil servants as well as his colleagues and his many fans.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Irrfan will be remembered for his versatile performances across different mediums. His demise is a loss to the world of cinema and theatre, Modi wrote on Twitter.
'My thoughts are with his family, friends and admirers. May his soul rest in peace,' the prime minister said.
“It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away. 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,” the statement read.
“Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heavenly 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 his words he had said, 'As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it',” it added.
The news of his death was first confirmed by his 'Piku' director Shoojit Sircar who sent his condolences to the family and doffed his hat to the actor’s fighting spirit.
'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,' the director said on Twitter.
'Piku' co-star Amitabh Bachchan remembered Irrfan as an 'incredible talent' and a gracious colleague.
'... A prolific contributor to the World of Cinema... left us too soon... creating a huge vacuum...,' Bachchan tweeted.
Bollywood star Ajay Devgn, who shared the screen with the actor in 2008 comedy 'Sunday', said Indian cinema suffered an 'irreparable loss' in Irrfan's death.
The self-effacing National Award winner, who acted in films as diverse as “Life of Pi”, “The Namesake” and “Haasil”, had stayed away from the public eye after his diagnosis in 2018 when he went to the UK for treatment.
On March 5, 2018 that Irrfan revealed that he was suffering from 'a rare disease'.
In a philosophical note to his fans on Twitter, the actor wrote, 'Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will,' he had said.
Ten days later, the actor shared that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour and would go abroad for the treatment.
He returned home in 2019 and managed to shoot for 'Angrezi Medium', the sequel to his 2017 hit 'Hindi Medium'.
Ahead of the trailer launch of 'Angrezi Medium', he resurfaced on social media and informed his fans in an personal message that he would be sitting out the movie promotions due to his health condition.
'Enjoy the trailer and be kind to each other and watch the film. And yes, wait for me.' The words linger on.
In his last interview with PTI, the actor said the outpouring of love from his fans felt like a blessing in this adversity.
'Blessings and adversity go hand-in-hand, I had heard, and I experienced it when it happened to me.
'The wishes from all over is like a feeling as if you are walking in the rain and you are not carrying any change of clothes and someone you don't even know takes you inside his umbrella just like that,' he had said earlier this year ahead of the release of his film 'Angrezi Medium'.
The film, which hit the theatres in March just before the lockdown that began on March 25, turned out to be his last cinematic outing.
Irrfan won best actor National Award for his performance in 2012’s biographical drama “Paan Singh Tomar”.
The actor was honoured with Padma Shri in 2011. PTI KKP JUR RDS BK SHD RB MIN MIN MIN