Mumbai: Popular television and film actor Sidharth Shukla, who became a household name with his role in the long-running TV show ‘Balika Vadhu’, died on Thursday. He was 40. Shukla, who is survived by his mother and two sisters, was dead when he was taken to the Cooper Hospital in Juhu around 10.20 am, authorities at the hospital said.
Though some reports suggested a heart attack, the cause of his sudden death, which sent shockwaves through the industry and TV fandom and ignited fresh debate on the pulls and pressures of showbiz, is not immediately clear. “He was brought dead to the hospital. The cause of the death will be known after the post-mortem is conducted…,” Cooper Hospital Dean Dr Shailesh Mohite told PTI.
The hospital’s Dr Jitten Bhavsar said Shukla, who won ‘Bigg Boss 13’ in 2020 and joins the ranks of actors on the cusp of fame who went too early — was declared dead by the principal medical officer when he was taken to the hospital around 10.20 am. The actor’s body will be kept at the state government post mortem centre overnight and the post mortem report will be released on Friday.
“Once the certificate (of death) is given by the doctor, the police will issue the NOC (no objection certificate) to the relatives and then they can claim the body. However, it’s the investigating officer who deals with the report of post mortem. It is confidential information between the doctors doing the autopsy and investigating officer,” Dean Mohite said later in the day.
The Mumbai born actor’s family issued a statement through his PR team requesting the media to draw a line and ‘give his family and loved ones space and let them grieve’. “We are all in pain. We are as shocked as you are. And all of us knew Sidharth was a private person, so please respect his privacy, his family’s privacy. And please pray for his soul to rest in peace,” it said.
Sidharth Shukla began his career as a model and made his acting debut with a lead role in the TV show ‘Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na’. He later appeared on shows such as “Jaane Pehchaane Se… Ye Ajnabbi”, “Love U Zindagi” but it was “Balika Vadhu” that made him famous.
Other than ‘Bigg Boss 13’, Shukla participated in other reality shows, including ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 6’ and ‘Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 7’. In 2014, Shukla made his Bollywood debut with the Karan Johar-produced ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ where he had a supporting role opposite Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.
The tributes poured in, from shocked viewers who had watched him on so many shows, from his colleagues and from stars big and small.
‘Bigg Boss’ host Salman Khan wrote, “Gone too soon Sidharth… You shall be missed. Condolences to the family. RIP.” Varun Dhawan posted an emotional note on Instagram, sharing pictures with him and co-star Alia Bhatt from the promotions of ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’. “Rip brother. You are loved by so many and you touched so many with your kind heart and beautiful personality. Today heaven has gained a star and we have lost one. My deepest condolences to the family and loved ones,” Dhawan wrote.
Meanwhile, the postmortem of Sidharth Shukla has been completed at Cooper hosital and the report will be shared on Friday. According to sources, the mortal remains of the actor will be handed over to his body on Friday, after which his funeral will take place.