Veteran Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor died Thursday in Mumbai after battling leukemia for two years.
The 67-year-old star, who made his debut as a child actor in “Mera Naam Joker,” (My Name is Joker) went on to win the hearts of millions of fans with a teenage love story, “Bobby” in 1973.
The news of his death was a double blow for the Bollywood Hindi movie industry and its tens of millions of fans – Kapoor passed away a day after another acclaimed actor, Irrfan Khan, succumbed to cancer.
Kapoor had undergone treatment in a New York hospital for almost a year before returning to India last September. He was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last. He remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents,” Kapoor’s family said in a statement.
Kapoor was a third-generation actor in a famed Bollywood family that has played a dominant role in the industry.
During a career that spanned nearly five decades, he made a mark as a romantic hero during his earlier films but transitioned to a much-acclaimed character actor in the past decade. He last starred in a film “102 Not Out” released in 2018.
Tributes poured in from veteran actors and his fans on social media. Bollywood’s most iconic star, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted “I am destroyed.”
“Multifaceted, endearing and lively, this was Rishi Kapoor,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.
"This is a terrible week for Indian cinema, with the passing of another legend, actor Rishi Kapoor,” Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
With India in a strict lockdown due to COVID-19, Kapoor's family appealed to the public to follow the rules in force and said “he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.”