LAHORE-Iconic Pakistani film, television and stage actor Ali Ejaz died of cardiac arrest here at a private hospital on Tuesday. He was 77.

The legendary actor had suffered from paralysis a decade ago but he survived the effects of the illness. The heart of the actor, who had won millions of hearts across the globe, sank this morning and never recovered.

He has left behind a widow and two sons. His funeral will be lifted from his residence 41 D New Muslim Town. The timings of the funeral prayers will be announced later by the family. Ali Ejaz started his film career in 1961 and worked in films such as FBI Operation Pakistan (1971), Sona Chandi (1983), and Chor Machaye Shor (1996).

Not only did Ejaz make a name for himself in the world of film and television but in 2015 he launched a social welfare project near Sialkot under his non-government organization Ali Ejaz Foundation. The project titled Homes for the Welfare of the Old People aims to build 132 homes.

Ali Ejaz had ruled the silver screen during the 1980s and his partnership with Khalid Saleem (Nanha) in lead comic role gave him eternal fame while his television drama ‘Khawaja & Son’ won him immense popularity. He had started his career with employment in a bank while started acting career from a radio drama and later film ‘Insaniyyat’.  He was cast in the movie by director Shaba Keranwi who had met Ali Ejaz in the bank.

There are 107 films to his credit which include 84 Punjabi, 24 Urdu and one Pushto films while he had started his career in 1967.He acted in lead role in dozens of Pakistan television and private productions.

He was decorated with the Pride of Performance award on August 14, 1993 while he had bagged multiple other awards to acknowledge his acting skills. Some of his famous films include ‘Sala Sahib’, ‘Insaniyat’, ‘Dubai Chalo’, ‘Dada Ustad’, ‘Pyar Da Palla’, ‘Bhaiyyan Di Jori’, ‘Yamla Jutt’, ‘Bad Nalo Badna’, Bura Ashiq, Mera Naa Sadhu, Shetani Laila Majnu Zulm Kai nai, Phalda Sadha Rasta, Badal Sohratay, Jawai Mister, Aflatoon Naukartay, Malik Wohdi Daa, Sawal Aey Baoji, Ji Dushman Pyara, Andheri Nagri, Dhi rani Chor Machaey Shor, Ishq mera Naa Bharosa, Sala Sahab, Athra Puttar Aap sey Kiya Parda, and Ishq Samandar.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of veteran film and TV artist Ali Ejaz . In his condolence message, the minister said that today Pakistan was deprived of a versatile artist and vacuum created by his death would be felt for long time. Ali Ejaz was a talented artist who had performed both humorous and serious roles with flair and spontaneity. “He gave a new color to humour and performed tragic roles which were remembered for several years,” he said.

Fawad prayed for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear this loss with fortitude.

Talking to the media, Alhamra Chairman Tuoqeer Nasir said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of loss of great actor.  I pray that God will grant the strength to family and friends.  Undoubtedly today we lost a versatile actor and a great person. It’s true that within the entertainment industry his place cannot be replaced. For sure it is an irreplaceable loss for the family, industry and for the country. He was like an acting institute.  He will always be remembered by his acting skills.”