July 19, 2012 13:43 IST
(New Delhi )
Actor Rajesh Khanna died at home in Mumbai this morning. He was 69. Mr Khanna was suffering from cancer.
Mr Khanna will be cremated on Thursday morning at 11.30am. His bungalow, Aashirwad, on Carter Road in Bandra was cordoned off by the police earlier today.
Mr Khanna's son-in-law, actor Akshay Kumar, addressed the press and asked fans to pray for the late star.
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan was among the first celebrities to arrive at Aashirwad. Mr Bachchan co-starred with Mr Khanna in Anand and Namak Haraam, and were jointly the highest paid actors in the 1980s. Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Tamil superstar Rajinikanth also released statements expressing their grief. Actress Hema Malini, who was Rajesh Khanna's most frequent heroine, appearing in 15 films with him, said she always expected him to "come back."
Mr Khanna had been in and out of hospital these last few months. On June 23, he was taken to Lilavati Hospital to be treated for exhaustion, and spent some days having tests. He was discharged just a day before he died.
On June 21, two days before he watken to hospital for the final time, worried fans were lined up outside Aashirwad after Mr Khanna was said to have stopped eating. He was later reported to be "more than fine" by son-in-law, actor Akshay Kumar. Mr Khanna himself appeared on his balcony, visibly weak and wearing dark glasses, to wave at his fans and give them the victory sign.
Mr Khanna had also been hospitalised for a few days in April this year.
Mr Khanna's estranged wife, actress Dimple Kapadia, has nursed him through his illness. They married in 1973 and separated in 1984 but never formally divorced. They have two daughters together - Twinkle, who is expecting her second child with husband Akshay Kumar, and Rinke who is married to businessman Sameer Saran.
Mr Khanna was the top actor in Bollywood during the Seventies and early Eighties, and is considered to be it's first real superstar. He was the star of romantic comedies and dramas such as Anand, Aradhana and Kati Patanag. He won three Filmfare awards in his long career.
Mr Khanna also held a Lok Sabha seat as a Congressman from 1992-1996. A host of politicians, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, joined Bollywood celebrities in expressing their grief over Mr Khanna's death.