Former wrestling champion and actor Dara Singh Randhawa passed away peacefully at his home here Thursday morning, following a brief illness. Several Bollywood celebrities like Abhishek Bachchan and Manoj Kumar are mourning the loss of their "hero", whose last rites will be conducted here around 3 p.m.
Dara Singh was 84.
"Dara Singh passed away peacefully at 7.30 a.m. this (Thursday) morning," said Ram Narain, COO, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, where the actor was being treated before he was shifted to his Juhu home late Wednesday.
He was shifted out of the hospital Wednesday night as it was his family's wish that he should be at home in the last stages of his life, a hospital official told IANS.
"We are preparing for the last rites, and it should be done around 3 p.m.," a source close to the family told IANS.
A cardiac problem led to his hospitalisation at the Kokilaben Hospital July 7.
Thereafter, his health only deteriorated further - his kidneys suffered malfunction and caused damage to his brain.
Dara Singh is survived by his wife and six children - three sons and three daughters. One of his sons, Vindu Dara Singh, is a known name in showbiz.
"Angel now gone to shine like a star up above," Vindu told IANS after his father's death.
Dara Singh, who had won the title of "Rustam-e-Hind" for his wrestling prowess, appeared in various films and TV serials.
Best known for his portrayal of Hanuman in Ramanand Sagar's "Ramayan" and in B.R. Chopra's "Mahabharat", for fans across the country Dara Singh was the face of Lord Hanuman.
"The warmth in his eyes when he smiled as Hanumanji connected me to him the very first time as someone so good hearted," tweeted Divya Dutta.
Preity Zinta wrote: "As a kid he was Hanuman my Hero!"
In the 1960s and 1970s, he had appeared in films like "Watan Se Door", "Daada", "Rustom-E-Baghdad", "Sher Dil", "Sikandar E Azam", "Raaka", "Mera Naam Joker" and "Dharam Karam". He was last seen in the 2007 release "Jab We Met".