London: Indian actress and popular VJ Sophiya Haque died in a hospital here today. She was 41. Haque was suffering from pneumonia and had been undergoing tests during which she is believed to have developed a clot in her lungs and passed away in her sleep. The model-actress, who lived in London with her partner and musical director David White, had fallen ill just before Christmas and was diagnosed with cancer.
Haque, best known in India as a bubbly Channel V VJ, was a popular stage and television actress in Britain. She recently made her mark on prime-time TV as barmaid Poppy Morales on the well-known soap 'Coronation Street' and was in the midst of a West End production called Privates on Parade.
"Sophiya was a wonderful actress, a wonderful client but so much more than that a wonderful friend. She was adored by everyone she worked with and will be deeply missed," said her agent, Oliver Thomson.
He described Haque's relationship with White as "very happy" and the couple were in the process of building a houseboat together when she fell ill.
Haque hit the big league in Britain when she bagged the role of a Bollywood actress in the Andrew Lloyd Webber and AR Rahman musical Bombay Dreams.
This led to a number of plum roles in musicals, including as Janoo Rani in Far Pavilions and most recently as Soraya in Wah! Wah! Girls, described as a good-natured Bollywood musical by critics last year.
In Privates on Parade, which opened here last month, she was praised for her role of Eurasian Sylvia opposite one of Britain's leading stage actors, Simon Russell Beale.
After hearing the news of Haque's sudden demise, Bollywood celebrities took to Twitter to express their grief.
Kabir Bedi, who worked with the late actress in stage production 'Far Pavilions', posted, "Saddened by the passing of Sophiya Haque, friend and talented actress, who I acted with in 'Far Pavilions', London West End."
"Tragic news about Sophiya Haque. One of the most gorgeous women to have walked this planet... Shine on wherever it is you now are love...," filmmaker Pooja Bhatt tweeted.
Model-actress Dia Mirza said, "RIP Sophiya Haque... She definitely was amongst the first VJ's on Indian TV and I loved her."
"She exuded love and warmth wherever she went. Heartbroken RIP, Sophiya Haque," posted VJ turned actor Ranvir Shorey.
"RIP Sophiya Haque, who along with Danny McGill plus Nonie, started a revolution as India's first VJ's on MTV. They were proper megastars in '93," tweeted music composer Vishal Dadlani.