'Slumdog Millionaire' and 'Life of Pi' star Irrfan Khan dies at 53

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·4-min read

Irrfan Khan, star of Oscar-winning movies including Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi, has died at the age of 53.

He had been admitted to hospital in Mumbai with a kidney infection yesterday, but his condition is said to have deteriorated.

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

“After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer, he took life soon after as it came and he fought the many battles that came with it. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven abode, leaving behind truly a legacy of his own.

Irrfan Khan poses for a portrait to promote the film "Puzzle" at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
Irrfan Khan poses for a portrait to promote the film Puzzle at the Sundance Film Festival (Credit: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

“We all pray and hope that he is at peace.”

Khan had been treated for cancer in 2019 in London, after being diagnosed with an neuroendocrine tumour.

His death comes just days after his mother, Saeeda Begum, died at the age of 95. He attended her funeral on Saturday via a video link.

Khan, often known in India simply by his first name Irrfan, first began acting in television, after moving to Mumbai from New Delhi, where he studied at the National School of Drama.

Khan in Life of Pi in 2012 (Credit: Fox)
Khan in Life of Pi in 2012 (Credit: Fox)

He made his big screen debut in the Oscar-nominated film Salaam Bombay in 1988, and starred in a slew of Bollywood hits, including Haasil in 2003, Maqbool in 2004 and biopic sports drama Paan Singh Tomar in 2012, for which he won India's National Film Award.

Khan received international acclaim after appearing in Asif Kapadia's The Warrior, before landing roles in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited.

Jurassic World (Credit: Universal)
Jurassic World (Credit: Universal)

He played the grown-up Piscine 'Pi' Patel in Ang Lee's Oscar-winning Life of Pi, and also appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man and Jurassic World.

He is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and their two sons, Babil and Ayan.

Many have taken to social media to pay tribute to the actor.