Beloved Indian Actor Irrfan Khan died from complications related to cancer on Wednesday. The Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi star was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor in 2018 and sought treatment for his cancer in London in 2019, according to Hindustan Times. Khan was rushed to a Mumbai hospital Tuesday evening and died early Wednesday. He was 53.
Neuroendocrine tumors can grow anywhere in the body, according to the Mayo Clinic, but are usually found on the lungs, appendix, small intestine, rectum and pancreas. Some grow slowly and others grow very fast. The cancer is rare, affecting only about 12,000 patients per year, according to Yale Cancer Center.
According to The Times of India, a source close to Khan said his check-up schedule for his cancer had been interrupted due to coronavirus restrictions before he was rushed to the hospital Tuesday. His mother died only four days before Khan, and he was unable to go to her funeral because of the coronavirus lockdown, the New Indian Express reported.
When Khan came out publicly about his cancer diagnosis in 2019, he issued a statement that said, “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect. The unexpected makes us grow, which is what the past few days have been about. To those who waited for my words, I hope to be back with more stories to tell.”
Khan’s Family Issued a Statement Wednesday Calling The Bollywood Actor a Strong Soul and a Fighter
A statement from Khan’s family published in the Times of India read:
…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 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.’
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, tweeted his condolences at the loss of the acclaimed actor.
The director of Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow, who worked with Khan on that movie also expressed his appreciation of the kind of man Khan was. “A thoughtful man who found beauty in the word around him, even in pain,” he wrote in part.
The Award-Winning Actor Had Been in Show Business Since the 1980s
Irrfan Khan was in over 100 films during the span of his career, according to NDTV. “His filmography is a heady mix of high and low – even among his Hollywood credits, acclaimed works such as The Lunchbox, Life of Pi, The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire and Paan Singh Tomar rub shoulders with mainstream fare such as Inferno, Jurassic World and The Amazing Spider-Man,” NDTV wrote.
He was the first Bollywood actor to star in two movies that won the Oscar for Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score — Slumdog Millionare in 2008 and Life of Pi in 2012, according to IMDb. In his lifetime, Khan won 32 film awards, including the Screen Actor Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire. He also received 28 nominations for his work.
Khan is survived by his wife, Sutapa Sikdar, who is a film producer, screenplay writer and dialogue writer. The couple has two sons.