- (Photo: Twitter/BBC Entertainment)
Credited as one of Bollywood's first and biggest celebrities, Rajesh Khanna died at age 69 on Wednesday morning.
The actor was in and out of the hospital over the past month because of an undisclosed illness. Khanna died in his home in suburban Mumbai, his son-in-law Akshay Kumar told Reuters.
Well known for his unique appearance and shy smile, Khanna was often named as Bollywood's first real superstar. The actor has legions of fans, including countless women, due to the many romantic hits he starred in during the '70s.
Hailed as the "King of Romance" and a "powerhouse" of the Hindu film industry, people across the world are mourning Rajesh on Wednesday.
Tributes flooded Twitter from people including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and fellow Bollywood actors as "RIP Rajesh Khanna" became a trending topic on the social media site.
"India's first superstar will be thoroughly missed," wrote Ranvijay. "RIP Rajesh Khanna."
Divya posted, "he was larger than bollywood, touched lives with his movies everyone grew up watching them RIP Rajesh Khanna."
"First Bollywood king/legend of romance," wrote Fizah. "You were a beauty," while Mahek posted, "You were the 1st original Indian superstar… the heart-throb of millions… u will be missed, RIP Rajesh Khanna."
In addition to the tributes online, Indian television channels ran specials on Khanna's films. The actor starred in 163 feature films, of which 128 films saw him as the lead character. Moreover, Khanna appeared in 17 short films as well.
Native to Jatin, Khanna married actress Dimple in 1973 and had two daughters, but the couple separated in the 1980s.
Khanna tried his hand in politics during the 1990s, but later in life he became a recluse and seldom appeared in public.
His funeral will be held on Thursday, reported Reuters.