However, the nature of his illness hadn’t been confirmed and hence speculation was rift. Then, on March 16, 2018, the actor released another statement to confirm that he had been diagnosed with a rare disease called neuroendocrine tumour. He wrote on Twitter: “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect: Margaret Mitchell. The unexpected makes us grow, which is what the past few days have been about. Learning that I have been diagnosed with NeuroEndocrine Tumour as of now has now has admittedly been difficult, but the love and strength of those around me and that I found within me has brought me to a place of hope. The journey of this is taking me out of the country, and I request everyone to continue sending their wishes. As for the rumours that were floated NEURO is not always about the brain and googling is the easiest way to do research 🙂 To those who waited for my words, I hope to be back with more stories to tell.”
— Irrfan (@irrfank) March 16, 2018
After initial treatment, the actor flew to London to avail best possible medical care. Through much of that year and the following year, nothing was heard from the actor other than an occasion interview of his, done during that period, which he shared on Twitter. Some time, in 2019, his health reportedly showed signs of improvement and he began shooting for his first time after diagnosis, Angrezi Medium, a sequel to his hit 2017, Hindi Medium. With a supportive crew and cast, he managed to shoot the film in London and Rajasthan.
In between, after successfully battling the treated disease, the actor returned to India for good. Announcing his return, he wrote on Twitter in April: “Maybe, somewhere in the pursuit of winning, we forget how much it means to be loved. In our vulnerability, we are reminded. As I leave my footprints onto these steps of my life, I want to pause to be grateful for receiving your immense love and support, it soothed me in my process of healing. So I travel back to you, thanking you from the bottom of my heart.”
— Irrfan (@irrfank) April 3, 2019
However, around the film was to be released in March this year, he couldn’t be available for the promotions of the film, as his health again took a beating. As speculation filled the air, the actor released a recorded message at the time of the film’s trailer release in February saying he had ‘unwanted guests in my body’.
He said in Hindi: “Hello, brothers and sisters. I am with you and not with you. This film, Angrezi Medium, is very special to me. I truly wanted to promote this film as passionately as we made it, but there are some ‘unwanted guests’ in my body and they’re keeping me busy. I’ll keep you informed on that front.”
“There’s a saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.’ It feels good to hear, but when life really hands you lemons, making lemons is really difficult,” he continued.
“One doesn’t have any other choice but to remain positive. Whether you are able to make lemonade in such situations is entirely up to you. We’ve made this film with the same sort of positivity. I hope this film is able to make you laugh and cry in equal measure.”
“Enjoy the trailer, and be kind to each other, and enjoy the film. And yes, wait for me.” Irrfan signed off.
Only couple of days back, there had been reports that the actor had attended the funeral of his mother Saeda Begum via video conferencing. She had died on Saturday, April 25.