Bollywood’s leading actor Rishi Kapoor has died of leukaemia at the age of 67.
The actor who was known for his romantic leads was admitted to hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday and died on Thursday, according to a family statement.
His death was confirmed by his elder brother Randhir Kapoor who told Indian news agency PTI: “He is no more. He has passed away.”
The Bobby star had been undergoing cancer treatment in the US for almost a year, and returned to India in September. He since had to be admitted to hospital twice in February.
Rishi belonged to a Bollywood lineage of film greats, with both his father Raj Kapoor and grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor being icons and pillars of the Indian film industry.
Rishi was married to Neetu Singh, who also co-starred in several films with him and leaves behind his son Ranbir Kapoor, who is also a leading film actor and daughter Riddhimma Kapoor Sahni.
A family statement said:
“Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefully at 8:45am IST in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukemia. 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. 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.
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.
In this hour of personal loss, we also recognise the world is going through a very difficult and troubled time. There are numerous restrictions around movement and gathering in public. We would like to request all his fans and well-wishers and friends of the family to please respect the laws that are in force.
He would not have it any other way.”
It is understood that daughter Riddhimma who lives with her husband and children in New Delhi, is seeking permission under the lockdown rules, to travel from Delhi to Mumbai by road as train and flights are not operating. She will be travelling 1,400 km by road to Mumbai, which roughly takes 18 hours.
Tributes have been pouring from industry colleagues since the news of his death
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, who worked with Rishi in 102 not Out tweeted on Thursday: “Rishi Kapoor gone… Just passed away… I am destroyed.”
Priyanka Chopra said Kapoor’s death was the end of an era, adding: “#Rishisir your candid heart and immeasurable talent will never be encountered again.”
Neice Karisma Kapoor shared a throwback picture of her as a child featuring her grandfather Raj Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor. She wrote: “Always looking over family..???? chintu uncle will miss discussing food and restaurants with you.. #uncle #legend”
Kapoor’s popular hit films included Chandni, Bobby, Karz, Prem Rog and Yeh Vaada Raha.