By Shilpa Jamkhandikar
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Movie actor and director Dev Anand, known for his joie de vivre as Bollywood's "evergreen hero," has died aged 88, an aide said, bringing the end to an era of Indian cinema.
Anand, whose last film, "Chargesheet," was released in September, was in London with his son, Suneil, when he died on Saturday from a heart attack, aide Mohan Churiwala told Reuters.
"He was never sick. Even when I spoke to him last evening, he sounded fine -- hale and hearty," Churiwala said.
Anand is also survived by his wife, Kalpana Karthik.
Born in Lahore, Anand travelled to Mumbai to work as a clerk in a government office in 1944 and got his first break two years later in the film "Hum Ek Hain." He turned director soon afterwards and went on to deliver a string of hits.
"CID," "Guide," "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" and "Jewel Thief" are movies considered part of Bollywood's essential viewing catalogue, and Anand's unique acting style is widely celebrated.
He is said to have been inspired by Hollywood's Gregory Peck, but his own casual style and the signature nod of his head while delivering lines were often imitated by fans.
Anand refused to retire from Bollywood, often telling interviewers he would work till his last breath. He was working on a new film at the time of his death.
"An era has come to an end," Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter. "Dev Anand leaves a void never perhaps to be filled again... his never-give-up belief, his joy of life."
(Editing by Henry Foy and Nick Macfie)