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Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor dies at 67, second blow in succession for Hindi cinema

The actor, son of the legendary showman Raj Kapoor and a star in the 1970s and 1980s, was diagnosed with cancer in 2018.

File photo: Shutterbugs Images

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Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, son of the legendary actor-filmmaker Raj Kapoor and father of actor Ranbir Kapoor, died this morning. He was 67.

Rishi Kapoor, popularly known in the film industry as Chintuji, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018 and had been battling health issues since. He was in New York for a long time for treatment and returned to India last September after his condition improved.

But late last night he was admitted to the Sir Hurkissondas Nurrotamdas Reliance Hospital in Mumbai after his health deteriorated. His older brother, actor-filmmaker Randhir Kapoor, had confirmed that Rishi was not well. This morning, the actor passed away.

This is the second blow to Hindi cinema in two days. Only yesterday, actor Irrfan Khan died after also battling a rare cancer for over two years.

The news of Rishi Kapoor's death was shared by his frequent co-star and friend Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter. He wrote, "He's GONE! Rishi Kapoor. Gone. Just passed away. I am destroyed!"

The Kapoor family also put out a statement: "Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefully at 8:45am IST in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukaemia. 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."

The family said Kapoor was always 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," the statement continued. "In this hour of personal loss, we also recognize 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."

Rishi Kapoor made his film debut as a child artiste in Raj Kapoor's Mera Naam Joker (1970). He made his debut as a leading man with his father's film Bobby (1973), which made him and co-star Dimple Kapadia overnight stars. He worked in more than 150 films in a career spanning almost 50 years. His last release was The Body (2019) with actor Emraan Hashmi.