ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday condoled the death of Indian cinema icon Dilip Kumar, saying he can never forget his generosity in helping to raise funds for a trust to set up cancer hospitals in his mother's memory.
Kumar, India's enduring film legend through the decades, died at a Mumbai hospital in the morning after a prolonged illness.
He was 98.
"Saddened to learn of Dilip Kumar's passing. I can never forget his generosity in giving his time to help raise funds for SKMTH when (the) project launched. This is the most difficult time - to raise (the) first 10% of the funds & his appearance in Pak & London helped raise huge amounts," Khan tweeted.
"Apart from this, for my generation Dilip Kumar was the greatest and most versatile actor," he said.
Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centres are state-of-the-art cancer centres located in Lahore and Peshawar.
SKMCH&RC, Lahore was the first project of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, which was the brainchild of the cricketer-turned-politician Khan.
The inspiration to build the hospital came after his mother, Shaukat Khanum, succumbed to cancer in 1985.
Kumar was born on December 11, 1922 at his family home in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar.
The Pakistan government has already declared his native house as a national heritage and completed all formalities to convert it into a museum in his name.
Kumar, known to generations of film-goers as 'tragedy king' for his portrayal of the brooding, intense romantic in classics such as 'Mughal-e-Azam' and 'Devdas', had been admitted to the Hinduja Hospital, a non-COVID-19 facility in Khar, since last Tuesday.
Kumar, born Yousuf Khan and often known as the Nehruvian hero, did his first film 'Jwar Bhata' in 1944 and his last 'Qila' in 1998, 54 years later.
The five-decade career included 'Mughal-e-Azam', 'Devdas', 'Naya Daur', and 'Ram Aur Shyam', and later, as he graduated to character roles, 'Shakti' and 'Karma'.