Tributes Pour in as Legendary Indian Actor Dilip Kumar Dies Aged 98

One of Indian cinema’s earliest icons, actor Dilip Kumar has died at age 98 in Mumbai due to prolonged illness.

Kumar had been taken to hospital in Mumbai last week suffering breathlessness, but died early Wednesday morning. “He passed away due to prolonged illness at 7.30am,” Dr Jalil Parkar of Mumbai’s Hinduja hospital said.

Kumar’s death was confirmed by a family friend who posted via Kumar’s Twitter account on Wednesday: “With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip saab a few minutes ago. We are from God and to him we return.”

Affectionately known as the ‘Tragedy King’, he acted in over 65 films over nearly five decades, playing roles that ranged from the iconic to the endearing.

Kumar is survived by his wife, Saira Banu, a Bollywood actress herself. The couple have no children.

His burial took place on Wednesday 7 July at 17:00 local time (11:30 GMT). Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the funeral would happen with state honours.

The funeral procession was shared via Kumar’s Twitter page with a quote from Saira Banu Khan.

Mr Thackeray and several Bollywood stars, including Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor visited Kumar’s family to pay their condolences.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bollywood figures from Hrithik Roshan and Madhuri Dixit Nene to Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar and others across the nation took to social media to post their tributes.

Dilip Kumar was born Yusuf Khan in December 1922 in Peshawar – in what is now Pakistan – before the partition of India.

Like some of his Muslim contemporaries, he took on a Hindu name ‘Dilip Kumar’ when he joined the Hindi film industry.

Read Kumar’s obituary via the BBC here.