MUMBAI: Renowned Indian film director Yash Chopra died in hospital aged 80 on Sunday after suffering dengue fever, his production company said, ending a decades-long career of flamboyant Bollywood blockbusters.
Dubbed "the king of romance" for his emotional and dramatic tales about the travails of love, Chopra was best known for classic hit movies including "Deewar" (Wall), "Chandni", "Silsila" and "Darr" (Fear).
He worked until the final months of his life and his last film "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (Till I am Alive), featuring superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif, will be released on November 13.
Chopra told Khan in a televised interview to mark his 80th birthday in September that he was retiring.
"It is with deep regret that we announce the sad demise of Mr. Yash Chopra, who breathed his last at around 5:30pm today," Yash Raj, the production company that he founded, said in a statement.
Chopra was admitted to Lilavati hospital in Mumbai on October 13 after being diagnosed with dengue -- a common mosquito-borne viral infection for which there is no cure that is fatal in a small number of cases.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid wholesome tribute to the late director, describing him as "an icon of Indian cinema".
"He entertained many generations with his rare creativity," Singh said. "He had an aesthetic talent to make his films look larger than life. His flourish to essay romance and social drama was unmatched.
"He established the popularity of Indian cinema internationally and was honoured by many governments. He will be remembered by millions."
Indian media had previously reported that Lahore-born Chopra was recovering well under medical care.
Bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar said on Twitter he was shocked by the loss of a movie legend. "Romance in cinema will always be incomplete," he added.
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