Sushant Singh Rajput, a prominent actor in Indian films and television programs, was found dead on Sunday in his home in Mumbai. He was 34.
His family announced the death in a statement but did not give a cause. The police in Mumbai said that the death was a suicide and that an investigation was underway.
“It pains us to share that Sushant Singh Rajput is no longer with us,” the family statement read. “We request his fans to keep him in their thoughts and celebrate his life and his work like they have done so far.”
Mr. Rajput started his acting career on television, where he was best known for his role as a car mechanic, Manav Deshmukh, in “Pavitra Rishta,” a soap opera that debuted in 2009.
After leaving the show in 2011, he made his Bollywood debut in 2013 as a gifted but troubled cricket player in “Kai Po Che,” a film based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat. For his performance he was nominated for a Filmfare Award, a coveted honor in the Hindi-language film industry of India. The critic Taran Adarsh said Mr. Rajput was “blessed with wonderful screen presence.”
The news of Mr. Rajput’s death came as a shock throughout India and several prominent leaders and actors responded on social media. On Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Mr. Rajput “a bright young actor gone too soon.”
“His rise in the world of entertainment inspired many, and he leaves behind several memorable performances,” Mr. Modi wrote.
The actress Deepika Padukone, who has been open about her experiences with mental health, posted a statement on Twitter with the hashtag “#YouAreNotAlone,” saying, “I cannot stress enough about the importance of reaching out.”
Mr. Rajput was comfortable both in hero and character roles. In 2016 he starred in “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story,” about the rise of the Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2016, and Mr. Rajput was again praised for his performance, netting several award nominations and one win.
Sushant Singh Rajput was born on Jan. 21, 1986, in Patna, in the Indian state of Bihar. His father, Krishna Kumar Singh, was an engineer, and his mother, Usha Singh, was a homemaker. Sushant was the youngest of their five children and the only boy.
Mr. Rajput often gave credit for his success to his mother, who died in 2002, when he was 16. He later recalled, “There was a vacuum in my life after her, as she was the only one with whom I would discuss everything.”
He took acting and dancing classes in college, eventually dropping out to become a dancer for the choreographer Shiamak Davar. With Mr. Davar’s troupe, Mr. Rajput performed at several Bollywood events, including the 2005 Filmfare Awards and the Commonwealth Games in 2006.
He later moved to Mumbai, joining a theater group for more than two years, during which he landed his first commercial. In 2008, he was spotted by a television casting agency, leading to his television debut in the drama series “Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil,” playing the stepbrother of the protagonist. His character was killed early in the series.
In 2010, Mr. Rajput appeared in the fourth season of “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa,” India’s version of “Dancing With the Stars,” with Ankita Lokhande, his “Pavitra Rishta” co-star and his girlfriend at the time. He finished in second place.
Mr. Rajput’s most recent film appearance was in “Drive,” a straight-to-Netflix film produced by Dharma Productions.
He is also the star of “Dil Bechara,” a film based on “The Fault in Our Stars,” the 2012 novel by John Green. The film’s scheduled release in May was postponed because of the new coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Rajput is survived by his father and four older sisters: Shweta Singh Kirti, Ritu Singh, Mitu Singh and Nitu Singh.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.