Irrfan Khan, Star of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Life of Pi,’ Dies at 53

The Bollywood star was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors in 2018

irrfan khan
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Irrfan Khan, the Indian actor who increased his fame beyond Bollywood with his roles in English-language hits such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi,” died Wednesday in Mumbai at age 53.

“It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away,” his PR agency said in a statement. “Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him.”

Two years ago, Khan revealed that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor, an abnormal growth that affects the cells that release hormones into the bloodstream.

A native of the northern Indian state Rajasthan, Khan broke into the Bollywood film scene in the ’90s and graduated to leading role in the 2000s, winning a Filmfare Award for his villainous role in 2004’s “Haasil.”

He quickly gained fame in other Bollywood films such as 2007’s “Life in a Metro” and 2013’s “The Lunchbox,” and then won international recognition as the police inspector in Danny Boyle’s 2008 drama “Slumdog Millionaire,” which went on to win eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

Other Hollywood roles soon followed, including 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” 2015’s “Jurassic World” and 2016’s “Inferno” with Tom Hanks. He also notably appeared as the grown-up version of the hero Pi Patel in Ang Lee’s 2012 drama “Life of Pi.”