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Irrfan Khan Dies at 53: Tributes Pour in for Late ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ ‘Life of Pi’ Actor

India's president and prime minister are just a few of the notable names honoring the late actor.

Irrfan Khan

Irrfan Khan

Shutterstock

Irrfan Khan, the Indian actor who became a Bollywood and Hollywood star with credits including “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi,” has died at the age of 53. Khan was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in March 2018 and passed away in the early morning of April 29 after checking into a hospital in Mumbai, India earlier this week for a colon infection. Khan continued to act in the two years between his diagnosis and death.

Khan made his acting debut with a supporting role in Mira Nair’s 1988 breakthrough “Salaam Bombay!” before achieving dominant success in India with films such as “Haasil” (2003), “Maqbool” (2004), and “Paan Singh Tomar” (2011), which won him the National Film Award for Best Actor. The actor achieved crossover success in the U.S. by starring in Nair’s  “The Namesake” (2006) and Ritesh Batra’s “The Lunchbox” (2013), which resulted in memorable supporting roles in Hollywood tentpoles such as “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Life of Pi” (2012), “Jurassic World” (2015), and “Inferno” (2016).

Khan would go on to win the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for his role in the Hindi-language comedy-drama “Hindi Medium” (2017). The actor’s television credits include HBO’s “In Treatment.” Khan’s last role was in the 2020 film “Angrezi Medium.”

India’s president Ram Nath Kovind remembered Khan in a social media post that reads: “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Irrfan Khan. A rare talent and a brilliant actor, his diverse roles and remarkable performances will remain etched in our memories. A big loss to the world of cinema and millions of film lovers. Condolences to his family & admirers.”

Prime minister Narendra Modi added, “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. My thoughts are with his family, friends and admirers. May his soul rest in peace.”

Khan is being honored across social media with tributes from fellow actors, political officials, film critics, moviegoers, and athletes in India and the U.S., among others. Khan is survived by his wife, Sutapa Devendra Sikdar, and sons Babil and Ayan.

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