The news of celebrated actor-director Aly Zaker's death was received with shock and sadness with the entertainment industry and the general people alike expressing grief at the passing away of the Ekushey Padak recipient on Friday.
Aly Zaker, a member of the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, passed away this morning at 6:40 after a four-year battle with cancer at the age of 76. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 two days ago and was undergoing treatment at the city's United Hospital.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the tributes, saying the contribution of Aly Zaker in the Liberation War, the country's arts and cultural arena will be remembered forever.
Renowned actress Suborna Mustafa wrote on her official Facebook profile: "There are no words to express my thoughts or feelings. Aly Zaker, our dear Chotlu Bhai has made his eternal journey."
"Sara Bhabi, Iresh and Sriya may you find the strength to deal with this pain. Love you Chotlu Bhai. Goodbye till we meet again," she said.
Born on November 6, 1944, in Chattogram, Zaker is a freedom fighter and an artiste of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the Liberation War of 1971. After independence, he started his journey as an actor and became one of the most successful on stage, television and silver screen through playing a wide variety of roles.
Actress Nusrat Imrose Tisha said Aly Zaker was one of the kindest persons she had known. "A lighthouse for many of us. May Allah grant him eternal peace," she wrote.
Popular actor Chanchal Chowdhury paid tribute to the departed soul. So did actress Sabila Nur. "Rest in peace Aly Zaker," she wrote.
Aly Zaker directed 15 plays and acted in 31 for his troupe till 2019, including Kopenik-er Captain, Galileo, Nurul Diner Sarajibon, Macbeth, Achalayatan, Dewan Gazir Kissa and more, to name a few. His performances in the role of Nurul Din, Galileo and Dewan Gazi earned him acclaim from critics and fans. He has also achieved prominence in television dramas including Aaj Rabibar, Bohubrihee and more.
Actor Arifin Shuvoo said the creation of the legendary thespian will live forever.
Film actor Omar Sani also mourned the demise of the Ekushey Padak recipient.
"Eminent actor and progressive cultural movement leader Aly Zaker uncle is no more. He left this world forever this morning. May his soul rest in peace," he wrote on Facebook.
His Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at the Banani graveyard mosque after Asr prayers.
The artist received Ekushey Padak, the country's second-highest civilian award in 1999. He has also received Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Award, Bangabandhu Award, Munier Chowdhury Award, Naren Biswas Award and many other accolades throughout his career.
Aly Zaker is survived by his family members including wife Sara Zaker, son Iresh Zaker and daughter Shriya Sharbojoya.