Egyptian actor Ezzat Abou Aouf dies at 71

The legendary actor had been in the film and TV industry for more than three decades

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 10:  Actors Ezzat Abou Ouf and Rajaa al Jidawi attend the Oxfam Charity Gala during day four of the 8th Annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Armani Hotel on December 10, 2011 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for DIFF)

Egyptian actor Ezzat Abou Aouf, one of the most prominent actors in the Arab world, passed away on Monday at the age of 71.

Abou Aouf, who graduated from medical school, first entered the arts world through music, as part of a rock band in the 1960s called Les Petits Chats, which also included world-famous Egyptian composer Omar Khairat, among others. The band was the subject of a documentary film in 2014, featuring its reunion for one final show.

Abou Aouf later started a band with his sisters called 4M, producing songs well into the 1990s. It wasn't until 1992 that Abou Aouf landed his first debut acting role in Ice Cream in Gleem. The film was a hit, launching Abou Aouf's acting career. The actor went on to appear in hundreds of films and television mini series, including the three-part comedy Omar and Salma, with Tamer Hosney and Mai Izz Aldin, and the Ramadan hit series Om Kulthum.

Throughout his three-decade career, he was the president of the 33rd edition of the Cairo International Film Festival and co-hosted Al Qahira Al Youm (Cairo Today), one of the most famous talk shows in Egypt and the Arab world.

Abou Aouf's health deteriorated in 2015 following the death of his first wife Fatima.

In an interview he gave last month with Egyptian TV host Wael El-ebrashy, the actor spoke about how he suffered panic attacks and nervous breakdowns after his wife died. "Her death came as a shock to me because I honestly thought I would go first," he said. He later remarried.

Egyptian celebrities have mourned the late actor since news of his death broke. He is survived by his second wife and two children, Mariam and Kamal.