Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan passed away on Wednesday, April 29, leaving the entire nation in a state of shock. He was 54 and was admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in Mumbai on Tuesday due to colon infection. He is survived by wife Sutapa Sikder, and sons Babil and Ayan.

Irrfan's filmmaker-friend Soojit Sircar broke the news on Twitter. "My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you.. we shall meet again.. condolences to Sutapa and Babil.. you too fought, Sutapa you gave everything possible in this fight. Peace and Om shanti. Irfaan Khan salute," the director, who directed Irrfan in Piku, wrote.

Irrfan Khan
Irrfan KhanPR Handout

In 2018, the Life Of Pi actor was diagnosed with high-grade neuroendocrine tumour and had sought treatment in London. Later upon returning to India in February 2019, the dedicated actor resumed shooting for Angrezi Medium.

Back then, when fans were worried about his health and speculations started doing the rounds, Irrfan opened up about his cancer and how he was dealing with it. 

The letter:

In a letter written to The Times of India, Irrfan talked about how his life took a drastic turn and how he was fighting to cope with it. He revealed it was a rare type of cancer and because of fewer study cases, the unpredictablity of the treatment was more. "This new name in my vocabulary, I got to know, was rare, and due to fewer study cases, and less information comparatively, the unpredictability of the treatment was more. I was part of a trial-and-error game," he wrote.

Talking about how his life came to a halt all of a sudden while chasing his dreams and aspirations, he wrote: "I had been in a different game, I was travelling on a speedy train ride, had dreams, plans, aspirations, goals, was fully engaged in them. And suddenly someone taps on my shoulder and I turn to see. It's the TC: "Your destination is about to come. Please get down." I am confused: "No, no. My destination hasn't come." "No, this is it. This is how it is sometimes." The suddenness made me realize how you are just a cork floating in the ocean with UNPREDICTABLE currents! And you are desperately trying to control it. In this chaos, shocked, afraid and in panic, while on one of the terrifying hospital visits, I blabber to my son, "The only thing I expect from ME is not to face this crisis in this present state. I desperately need my feet. Fear and panic should not overrule me and make me miserable." That was my INTENTION. AND THEN PAIN HIT. As if all this while, you were just getting to know pain, and now you know his nature and his intensity. Nothing was working; NO consolation, no motivation. The entire cosmos becomes one at that moment – just PAIN, and pain felt more enormous than GOD."

He added, "As I was entering the hospital, drained, exhausted, listless, I hardly realized my hospital was on the opposite side of Lord's, the stadium. The Mecca of my childhood dream. Amidst the pain, I saw a poster of a smiling Vivian Richards. Nothing happened, as if that world didn't ever belong to me."

Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan

"This hospital also had a coma ward right above me. Once, while standing on the balcony of my hospital room, the peculiarity jolted me. Between the game of life and the game of death, there is just a road. On one side, a hospital, on the other, a stadium. As if one isn't part of anything which might claim certainty – neither the hospital nor the stadium. That hit me hard. I was left with this immense effect of the enormous power and intelligence of the cosmos. The peculiarity of MY hospital's location – it HIT me. The only thing certain was the uncertainty. All I could do was to realize my strength and play my game better. This realization made me submit, surrender and trust, irrespective of the outcome, irrespective of where this takes me, eight months from now, or four months from now, or two years. The concerns took a back seat and started to fade and kind of went out of my mind space," he said.

About understanding the true meaning of freedom, Irrfan wrote, "It felt like an accomplishment. As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it. My confidence in the intelligence of the cosmos became absolute. I feel as if it has entered every cell of mine. Time will tell if it stays, but that is how I feel as of now."

The actor was grateful for all the prayers and wishes that was pouring in from all corners and wrote that it filled him with happiness. "Throughout my journey, people have been wishing me well, praying for me, from all over the world. People I know, people I don't even know. They were praying from different places, different time zones, and I feel all their prayers become ONE. One big force, like a force of the current, which got inside me through the end of my spine and has germinated through the crown of my head. It's germinating – sometimes a bud, a leaf, a twig, a shoot. I keep relishing and looking at it. Each flower, each twig, each leaf which has come from the cumulative prayers, each fills me with wonder, happiness, and curiosity. A realization that the cork doesn't need to control the current. That you are being gently rocked in the cradle of nature."

Irrfan Khan
Irrfan KhanTwitter