Leading Indian actor Irrfan Khan has died at the age of 53 after being admitted to a Mumbai hospital this week with a colon infection. The sad news has been confirmed to us by the actor’s representatives.
The Life Of Pi, The Lunchbox, Slumdog Millionaire and Jurassic World star was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018 but continued to act.
A moving statement from Khan’s family to Indian media read:
“I trust, I have surrendered”; These were the some of the many words that Irrfan expressed in a heart-felt note he wrote in 2018 opening up about his fight with cancer. And a man of few words and an actor of silent expressions with his deep eyes and his memorable actions on screen. 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. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven 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.”
The news has been met with a flood of condolences from industry and beyond. Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan called Khan “an incredible talent” and “a gracious colleague”:
Khan’s The Lunchbox co-star Nimrat Kaur said, “India has lost one of her biggest icons today”:
There was even praise from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said the much-loved actor’s death was “a loss to the world of cinema”:
Considered one of India’s finest actors and praised for his reassuring and engaging screen presence, Khan received numerous prizes across a 30 year career, including the National Film Award and multiple Filmfare Awards.
He was well known in his homeland for successful movies including Paan Singh Tomar, Haider, Gunday and box office smash Hindi Medium.
But he also achieved notable success in the international and U.S. market. The Warrior was BAFTA-nominated in 2001 and Cannes hit The Lunchbox was widely considered one of the best films of 2013. English-language movies included multi-Oscar winners Life Of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire, The Darjeeling Limited, The Amazing Spider-Man, Jurassic World and Inferno. Khan’s last film was Bollywood pic Angrezi Medium, which hit screens days before the lockdown was announced.
He also had a memorable turn on American television in 2010, playing a client of therapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) in Season 3 of HBO’s In Treatment. Khan co-starred as Sunil, a retired Indian math professor who has trouble adjusting to life with his son’s family in the U.S. after the death of his wife. Here’s a trailer for that season; Khan’s segment starts at 1:15 mark:
Local media report that Khan’s mother had passed away on Saturday with the actor following the funeral via video link. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Some more reaction below:
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.