One of the greatest actors in Asia, Dilip Kumar – who was popularly known as The Tragedy King of Bollywood – has breathed his last at the age of 98, Dr Jalil Parkar, the pulmonologist treating the actor at Mumbai’s PD Hinduja hospital confirmed on Wednesday.
“With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip saab,” Faisal Farooqui – a family friend – posted on the actor’s official Twitter.
The legendary actor was admitted to Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital after complaining of breathlessness – it was the second time he had been hospitalised in the same month.
Dilip Kumar had been in and out of hospital over the last few years with multiple health problems ranging from a kidney ailment to pneumonia.
Born on December 11, 1922 in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) as Mohammad Yousuf Khan, he began his film career in 1944 with Jawar Bhata.
The versatile actor, who would have been 99 in December, is survived by his wife of 75 years, Saira Banu.
Condolences poured in from political, social and cultural circles in India and Pakistan as they mourned the loss of the actor.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Kumar will be remembered as a “cinematic legend”.
“He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled. His passing away is a loss to our cultural world,” he said.
“To the world many others may be heroes. To us actors, he was The Hero. #DilipKumar sir has taken an entire era of Indian cinema away with him,” said Indian actor Akshay Kumar.
Dilip Kumar, real name Yusuf Khan, won hearts with his spectacular performance in some of Indian cinema’s most iconic and landmark films including Naya Daur, Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas, Ram Aur Shyam, Andaz, Deedar, Daagh, Azad, and Ganga Jamuna.
The actor got the sobriquet of Tragedy King because in hit after hit he featured in love triangles invariably losing the heroine in the end. With his brooding good looks, tousled hair and deep voice, Kumar ruled the Bollywood.
Kumar’s illustrious career spanned several decades and nearly 65 films. He transitioned from playing the romantic-tragic lead to character roles from the ’80s on, in films such as Kranti, Shakti, Karma and Saudagar. 1998’s Qila was his last film.