Bollywood veteran and favourite character actor AK Hangal, dubbed the "grand old man" of Hindi cinema for his elderly roles, died on Sunday aged 95.
The actor's son, Vijay Hangal, told reporters the news of his death outside Asha Parekh hospital in Mumbai, where his father was recently admitted after he slipped and injured his thigh and back.
"My father was put on a ventilator but his health kept deteriorating since yesterday. He passed away at 9:00 am (0330 GMT) today," he said.
Hangal was born in Sialkot which in now Pakistan, where he spent three years in jail for his freedom fighting against British rule. After partition, in 1949, he moved to Mumbai and joined a leftist theatre group.
The former tailor entered Bollywood relatively late in life but went on to appear in more than 200 films, making his name in roles as the on-screen elderly relative to big Bollywood stars.
He was best known for his parts in films such as Sholay (Embers) and Namak Haraam (Traitor) in the 1970s, and he was honoured with India's civilian Padma Bhushan award in 2006 for his contribution to Hindi cinema.
But he fell on hard times later in life, with his son appealing for help from Bollywood stars last year to pay Hangal's medical expenses.
Various names of Hindi cinema paid tribute to the actor on Twitter. "The Marathon Man of Hindi Cinema reaches the final winning post. We will miss you," said veteran actor Anupam Kher.
MORE ON A K HANGAL
Hangal cremated; Bollywood biggies miss funeral
With prayers on their lips, friends and family members bid a tearful adieu to distinguished character actor A K Hangal at his funeral here.
Incidentally, none of the prominent Bollywood personalities attended Hangal's last rites, performed by his son Vijay at the Pawan Hans crematorium in Vile Parle, Mumbai, at around 1 PM.
Hangal's death leaves sannata in Bollywood, say artistes
Bollywood fondly remembered the grand old man of Hindi cinema and distinguished theatre artist AK Hangal, saying his demise has left a 'sannata' (silence).
Hangal breathed his last at 9 AM today following a brief illness aggravated by a fracture on his thigh bone at Asha Parekh hospital in suburban Santacruz.His funeral will take place at 1 PM at Pawan Hans crematorium in Vile Parle.
"A K Hangal no more. An era comes to an end. Theatre and films were enriched by him. Funeral at 1 PM near Pavan Hans opp Nanavati hospital," actress Shabana Azmi wrote on micro-blogging site twitter. FULL STORY
Celebs pay tribute to A K Hangal
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt posted, "Adieu Hangal Saab! What an innings!!!"
"A K Hangal no more, an era comes to an end. Theatre and films were enriched by him," singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya said.
"Veteran Actor A K Hangal no more... just passed away. Had great moments with him at IPTA...may his soul rest in peace," filmmaker Ashok Pandit said.
Hangal: Bollywood's favourite grandpa
Hailed once as the 'uncrowned king of theatre', AK Hangal was not very keen to join films but ended up playing roles of the loving father or grandfather and doting servant of Bollywood with elan. MORE ON THIS
(With additional inputs from ANI)