Beloved Bollywood star Rishi Kapoor dies aged 67

The actor died after being taken to hospital complaining of breathing difficulties, his family confirmed

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Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor has died at the age of 67. The actor was admitted to ICU at Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai on Wednesday and died early on Thursday.

Kapoor was taken to hospital after he complained of breathing difficulties, his brother, Randhir Kapoor, told Press Trust of India.

The family has released 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.

“He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from 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.”

The tribute is fitting, as Kapoor's final tweet was an appeal for people to be kind amid the coronavirus pandemic, paying particular tribute to the medical teams fighting the Covid-19 battle.

"An appeal to all brothers and sisters from all social status and faiths," Kapoor wrote on April 2. "Please don’t resort to violence, stone throwing or lynching. Doctors, nurses, medics, policemen etc are endangering their lives to save you. We have to win this coronavirus war together. Please. Jai Hind!"

Amitabh Bachchan, a close friend of Kapoor's, has spoken of his grief on social media.

"He's gone .. ! Rishi Kapoor .. gone .. just passed away .. I am destroyed," Bachchan wrote. His tweet has since been deleted.

Kapoor had been undergoing cancer treatment in India since September last year, after almost a year of treatment in New York. The condition was first diagnosed in 2018.

He was a member of the Bollywood Kapoor family dynasty and made his debut in 1970 as a child actor in his father Raj Kapoor's film, Mera Naam Joker.

He was married to fellow Bollywood star, Neetu Singh, and together they have two children, Riddhima Kapoor Sahni and Ranbir Kapoor, who is also an actor.

Kapoor's death comes a day after the death of fellow Bollywood star, Irrfan Khan, who was 53. The two starred together in 2013 film, D-Day. 

Indian E-sport star Vishal Sharma has paid tribute to both Kapoor and Khan in a tweet, sharing his sadness at losing two "legendary actors" in two days.