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Saif Ali Khan's father, a cricketing legend, died of a lung infection

India's cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who personified style on and off the cricket field, died in New Delhi today (September 22) after battling a lung infection for about a month. He was 70.

The former Indian captain, who was admitted to the Sir Gangaram Hospital here, is survived by his wife, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, and three children - daughters Soha and Saba and son Saif.

Sharmila Tagore, son Saif and partner Kareena Kapoor - both popular Bollywood actors- and daughter Saba were by his side when he breathed his last, doctors at the hospital said.

"He died at 5.55 p.m. He was in the intensive care unit (ICU) and his lungs were not functioning at all," a senior doctor said.

"We had told the family that no cure is possible," added the doctor.

Pataudi, born on Jan 5, 1941, played 46 Test matches for India between 1961 and 1975.

An accident permanently damaged vision in his right eye when he was only 20. This, however, did not affect his widely acclaimed playing skills.

Popularly known as Tiger, he was the ninth and last Nawab of Pataudi, now in Haryana.

With his death, the cricket world lost one of its most enduring icons.

Said his compatriot Abbas Ali Baig: "It is a terrible moment indeed... He had the talent not only to play for the country but also to lead it to perfection."

Spin wizard Erapalli Prasanna, who played under Pataudi added: "What we are today in the spin department is because of Pataudi. He had the vision that we could do realy on spin bowling to win matches. It is the greatest loss for Indian cricket."

On Thursday morning, doctors had warned that Pataudi's condition was deteriorating and he was critical.

"His condition has deteriorated since Wednesday and he is unable to maintain his oxygen level in spite of maximum treatment. He continues to remain in the ICU (intensive care unit)," Neeraj Jain, senior consultant and chairman of pulmonolgy (chest medicine) at Gangaram Hospital in central Delhi, had said.

Pataudi had been admitted to the hospital in August with acute lung infection.

"This disease... had been static since the last three months. It worsened very acutely over the last four weeks," Jain said.

"The possibility of lung transplant was discussed very early as soon as his condition worsened. But he was not a suitable candidate for it," he added.

A dashing cricketer, Pataudi hit the arclights when he married the young Sharmila Tagore in 1969.

The connection to Indian cinema endured through the decades when his son Saif also became a Bollywood actor and so did his daughter Soha.

In his later years, Pataudi was a familiar figure in Delhi circles.
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