Slumdog Millionaire star Irrfan Khan dies at 54

2018 Sundance Film Festival -  "Puzzle" Premiere

Irrfan Khan, a veteran character actor in Bollywood movies and one of India's most well-known exports to Hollywood, has died at the age of 54.

Khan died on Wednesday after he was admitted to Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital with a colon infection, his spokesman said.

"Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him," a statement released by the actor's team read.

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Irrfan Khan
En esta foto del 22 de enero del 2018, el actor Irrfan Khan posa para promover la película "Puzzle" durante el Festival de Cine de Sundance en Park City, Utah. (Foto por Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, Archivo)
MUNICH, BAYERN - JUNE 30: Irrfan Khan and wife Sutapa Sikdar attend the 'Qissa' Premiere as part of Filmfest Muenchen 2014 on June 30, 2014 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images for Filmfest Muenchen)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Irrfan Khan attends the "Puzzle" Premiere at Eccles Center Theatre during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
Slumdog Millionaire star Irrfan Khan dies at 54
Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan poses before a press conference to promote his upcoming movie "Hindi Medium" in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. The movie is scheduled to be released on May 19. Irrfan and Saba Qamar seen in poster in background. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
FILE- In this May 17, 2017 file photo, Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan looks on during a press conference to promote his movie "Hindi Medium" in Ahmadabad, India. Khan, a veteran character actor in Bollywood movies and one of India's most well-known exports to Hollywood, has died. He was 54. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 08: Irrfan Khan attends a photocall on day three of the 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on December 8, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for DIFF)
FLORENCE, ITALY - OCTOBER 08: Irrfan Khan (L) attends the INFERNO World Premiere Red Carpet at the Opera di Firenze on October 8, 2016 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Irrfan Khan from 'Puzzle' attends The Hollywood Reporter 2018 Sundance Studio at Sky Strada, Park City on January 22, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for for The Hollywood Reporter)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 5: (EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an exclusive image of Hindustan Times) Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan during an exclusive interview with HT City-Hindustan Times for the promotion of his upcoming movie "Qarib Qarib Singlle" at HT Media office, on November 5, 2017, in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Waseem Gashroo/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Irrfan Khan attends the premiere for "Guilty" on day 5 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Ryerson theatre on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Toronto. (Photo by Tony Felgueiras/Invision/AP)
Indian actor Irrfan Khan poses during the DVD launch of the Bolywood film ‘Piku’ in Mumbai, India, Thursday, July 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Indian actor Irrfan Khan celebrates after winning the Best Actor for his movie "The Lunchbox" of the Asian Film Awards in Macau Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Irrfan Khan poses for a portrait at Quaker Good Energy Lodge with GenArt and the Collective, during the Sundance Film Festival, on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)
Actor Irrfan Khan poses for photographers as he arrives for Extravagant India!, the international Indian Film Festival in Paris, Tuesday Oct. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Actor Irrfan Khan poses for a portrait Tuessday, Nov. 2, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
**FILE** This Feb.8, 2009 file photo shows Indian actor Irrfan Khan, left, Indian composer A. R. Rahman, center, and British director Danny Boyle, right, arrive at the British Academy Film Awards 2009 at The Royal Opera House in London, England. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan,File)
From left, actor Madhur Mittal, actor Irrfan Khan, actress Freida Pinto, actor Anil Kapoor and actor Dev Patel arrive for the 81st Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Members of the cast of "Slumdog Millionaire" pose backstage with the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, in Los Angeles. From left are: Irrfan Khan, Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Anil Kapoor. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Khan made his screen debut in the Academy Award-nominated 1988 drama Salaam Bombay!, a tale of Mumbai's street children.

The acclaimed actor was also involved in blockbusters such as Slumdog Millionaire, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009.

He portrayed park executive Masrani in Jurassic World and also appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man and the adventure fantasy Life Of Pi.

He worked with directors like Mira Nair, Wes Anderson and Ang Lee.

The actor was diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer in 2018 and underwent months of treatment in the UK.

"I trust, I have surrendered," Khan wrote in a heartfelt note after he broke the news of his battle with cancer.

Khan won a number of domestic film awards in India, including a 2012 Indian National Film Award for best actor for his performance in Paan Singh Tomar, a compelling tale of a seven-time national champion athlete who quit India's armed forces to rule the Chambal ravines in central India.

Khan received an Independent Spirit Award for supporting actor in 2006 Indian-American drama The Namesake, and a viewers' choice award at Cannes in 2013 for his role in Indian romantic drama The Lunchbox.

Tributes came from Bollywood, including from Amitabh Bachchan, who said Khan was an "incredible talent" and "a prolific contributor" to cinema.

Khan "left us too soon", Bachchan wrote on Twitter.

In an interview with the Associated Press in 2018, Khan said: "I've seen life from a completely different angle. You sit down and you see the other side and that's fascinating. I'm engaged on a journey."

Khan's last Bollywood movie, Angrezi Medium, a sequel to one of his biggest hits, Hindi Medium (2017), was released before India went into lockdown in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He is survived by his wife, television writer and producer Sutapa Sikdar, and sons Babil and Ayan.

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