Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor has died at the age of 67.

The actor was taken to hospital on Wednesday morning after having difficulty breathing, where he passed away peacefully following a two year battle with leukaemia.

A statement from his family read: “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.”

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They continued: “He was 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.”

Diagnosed with cancer in 2018, Kapoor spent a year being treated in New York for the illness before returning to India last September.

Earning a National Film Award for his debut role in Mera Naam Joker in 1970, Kapoor had a long career in Bollywood playing romantic leads before moving into character work later in his life.

A member of the Kapoor acting family, he worked with father, director Raj Kapoor, as a child, while his son Ranbir, 37, is also a Bollywood performer.

His wife, Neetu, 61, is also an actor, while their daughter, Riddhima Kapoor Sahani, 39, is a designer.

Bollywood star Rajinikanth paid tribute to the veteran actor, tweeting: “Heartbroken... Rest In Peace... my dearest friend.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who knew Kapoor as a child, wrote: “Saddened to hear that my senior schoolmate at Mumbai’s CampionSchool, Rishi Kapoor, whom i competed with in “inter-class dramatics” in 1967-68, has gone to a better world. From the romantic hero of “Bobby”to the mature character actor of his last films, he evolved remarkably. RIP.”

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