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Indian actor of American descent Tom Alter dies of skin cancer in Mumbai

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The actor’s grandparents migrated from Ohio to India more than a century ago.

Tom Alter, an Indian actor of American descent, died on Friday. Alter was suffering from stage four skin cancer, his son had earlier confirmed.

“It is with sadness we announce the death of Tom Alter, actor, writer, director, Padma Shri, and our dear husband and father,” a statement from the family read.

A recipient of Padma Sri, one of the highest civilian honors given by the government of India, Alter is known for his roles in the films like ‘Gandhi’, ‘Aashiqui’ and ‘Parinda’.

“Sad to hear the demise of veteran actor Tom Alter. He will be remembered by film lovers. Condolences to his family,” wrote President of India Ram Nath Kovind in a condolence tweet that he posted on Saturday.

Jamie Alter, son of Tom Alter, while speaking to the media about the health of his father had said at the beginning of the month that he was going through the fourth stage of squamous cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer.

“It is a relapse of the same thing which had happened last year and unfortunately, for various reasons, it was not detected at that time and has come back,” Jamie said.

Alter received Padma Shri in 2008 for the contributions he made to the Indian films. He has acted in more than 300 films over several languages including Malayalam, Assamese, and Tamil.

Alter’s grandparents, who were Christian missionaries, migrated from Ohio to India in 1916. He was born in Mussoorie, a popular hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in 1950. A third-generation American in India, Alter later made Mumbai his home.

He is a life member of International Film and Television Club, International Film and Television Research Center of Asian and Academy of Film & Television.

He was also a cricket enthusiast. He was the first one to interview cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar before his entry into international cricket.

The cricketer tweeted on Saturday: “Through my first ever TV interview, met a true sports lover and a good human being. You will live in our hearts forever. RIP #TomAlter”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed condolence on the death of Alter and recalled his contribution to the film world and theater. He extended condolences to the family and admirers of Tom Alter.

Alter is survived by his wife Carol, son Jamie, and daughter Afshaan.

(This post has been updated.)