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Bollywood actor and romantic hero Rishi Kapoor dies at 67

SINGAPORE – In what is proving to be a terrible week for the Bollywood film fraternity, veteran actor Rishi Kapoor died on Thursday (April 30), aged 67, after a two year battle with leukaemia.

Kapoor, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, was taken to a hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday morning after he complained of breathing difficulties, his brother Randhir Kapoor told the Press Trust of India.

His wife and frequent co-star Neetu was by his side when he died, according to the Hindustan Times.

His death comes within 24 hours of the passing away of Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan.

Born in one of the most prominent families in Hindi cinema, the son of actor Raj Kapoor, Kapoor was best known for his romantic hero roles, especially his breakout turn as Raj Nath in 1973 film Bobby, opposite Dimple Kapadia. He received the Filmfare Best Actor Award the year after.

Also a director and producer, he was part of hit films such as Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Laila Majnu (1967) and Bol Radha Bol (1992), among others. In the later stage of his career, he appeared in films such as Kapoor and Sons (2016) and 102 Not Out (2018).

A statement released by the family said: “He remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents. Family, friends, food and films remained his focus and everyone who met him during this time was amazed at how he did not let his illness get the better of him.”

Kapoor had been receiving treatment in New York for over a year.

The statement added: “He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from the world over. In his passing, they would all understand that he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.”

He is survived by his children, actor Ranbir Kapoor and designer Riddhima Kapoor Sahani. Kapoor is also uncle to actresses Karisma and Kareena Kapoor.

Tributes from fellow Indian actors have poured in since news of his death broke.

Actress Priyanka Chopra called it “the end of an era”, writing: “My heart is so heavy. This is the end of an era. #Rishisir your candid heart and immeasurable talent will never be encountered again. Such a privilege to have known you even a little bit. My condolences to Neetu maam, Ridhima, Ranbir and the rest of the family. Rest in peace Sir.”

Another Indian acting great, Rajinikanth tweeted: “Heartbroken … Rest In Peace … my dearest friend #RishiKapoor”

My heart is so heavy. This is the end of an era. #Rishisir your candid heart and immeasurable talent will never be encountered again. Such a privilege to have known you even a little bit. My condolences to Neetu maam, Ridhima, Ranbir and the rest of the family. Rest in peace Sir. #rishikapoor

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