Ekushey Padak recipient Aly Zaker, a member of the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, passed away on Friday morning at the age of 76.
“My father, Aly Zaker, passed away this morning at 6:40 after a four year long battle with cancer. Innalillahi Wa Innailahi Rajiun. We are ever grateful for your love and prayers,” his son and actor Iresh Zaker wrote in a Facebook post.
Aly Zaker had been suffering from cancer for the last four years. Iresh said his father was diagnosed with COVID-19 two days ago.
Zaker, the chairman of Asiatic 3sixty, died at the United Hospital where he was undergoing treatment for coronavirus.
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.
Tributes poured in for the freedom fighter and eminent cultural personality.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a message, expressed deep shock and sorrow at the death of Ekushey Padak recipient.
She said the contribution of Aly Zaker in the great Liberation War, the country’s arts and cultural arena will be remembered forever. The Prime Minister prayed for the departed soul and expressed sympathy to the bereaved family.
Zaker’s career as a thespian began with theatre troupe ‘Aranyak Natyadal’ in 1972. He performed in Munier Chowdhury’s play ‘Kabar’ in the same year. Later, he joined Nagorik Natya Sampradaya the same year and remained with the troupe until his death.
He 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.
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.