The 53-year-old actor had been battling colon cancer since 2018, and was admitted to the hospital last week after a colon infection.
His family issued a statement that 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.”
Khan was one of India’s finest actors, who worked in over 80 films in his 30-year career. He was among the first Indian actors to reach global fame, starring in British and American films. International audiences have seen his work in films such as Inferno, The Namesake and Jurassic World.
Tributes have been pouring in from fellow actors, film critics, moviegoers and athletes in India and around the world.
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle also paid tribute to the actor. He told the BBC: “Irrfan was a wonderful actor and a pivotal figure in the making of Slumdog Millionaire. It wasn’t a huge role and in fact on paper it was even less rewarding looking. But Irrfan saw the possibility of guiding our audience with his dignity, his grace, his charm, his intelligence and his calmness, through this crossword puzzle of an idea of a film. He also reassured one of our most significant partners on the film, Peter Rice of Fox Searchlight, who as a friend – before he was involved in the film – told me to cast Irrfan Khan in it, whether there was a role for him or not. He said, just get that guy. Then he ended up buying the film and releasing it to put it on its trajectory towards the Academy Awards, and he was no doubt partly enticed by the fact that indeed we had got Irrfan Khan.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences. He tweeted: “Irrfan Khan’s demise is a loss to the world of cinema and theatre. He will be remembered for his versatile performances across different mediums.”
Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: “…just getting news of the passing of Irrfan Khan… this is a most disturbing and sad news… An incredible talent.. a gracious colleague .. a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema .. left us too soon .. creating a huge vacuum.”
Priyanka Chopra tweeted: “The charisma you brought to everything you did was pure magic. Your talent forged the way for so many in so many avenues.. You inspired so many of us. #IrrfanKhan you will truly be missed. Condolences to the family.”
Khan is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar, and their two sons. ~Marriska Fernandes
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