By Kayla Amora, EnStarz | Jul 18, 2012 11:08 AM EDT
Bollywood star, Rajesh Khanna died on Wednesday in Aashirwad in Mumbai. The Indian star had been challenged by an illness for years, which eventually led him to his death at the age of 69. However, the nature of the illness remains unknown.
"We always thought [Khanna] would come back [from the hospital]. We are in shock right now," actor Hema Malini told a TV news channel.
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Zee News reports that Khanna had been in critical condition since April. He had stopped eating and said he was feeling weak often. Finally, he was admitted into Lilawati hospital. The Bollywood star was discharged from the hospital this week on a ventilator and died at home one day later surrounded by his family.
Hospital authorities and his family remain mum on what illness Khanna was affected by exactly.
Rajesh Khanna rose to fame in Indian cinemas in the 1960's as the romantic hero in numerous films. His debut film "Akhri Khath," or "The Last Letter" gave him attention as a new actor, but it was his 1969 film, "Aradhana," or "Worship," that sky-rocketed his career. Khanna continued to take the lead in 120 of the 170 films the star was featured in.
"Khanna witnessed unbelievable popularity, such that no one had ever seen or imagined. In fact from 1969 to 1973, it was a one-horse race," said Javed Akhtar, a screenwriter and poet.
Later, as Khanna's career as an actor began to fade, he became involved in politics. He served in Parliament between 1992 to 1996.
Khanna's funeral is expected to take place on Thursday in Mumbai.
"It's a terrible day for all of us in the industry," said Saira Banu, Khanna's co-star in many films. "He was a very humble person despite his superstar status."
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