Ekushey Padak and National Film Award winning actor ATM Shamsuzzaman passed away at 9:00pm yesterday at his Sutrapur residence.
He was 79 years old.
The news was confirmed by SA Haque Olik, general secretary, Bangladesh Directors' Guild.
Shamsuzzaman was hospitalised after suffering from breathing problems.
He was taken to Asgar Ali Hospital in Gendaria on February 17 for some tests before being admitted to the ICU. He had tested negative for Covid-19 and returned home from hospital on Friday.
Abu Taher Md Shamsuzzaman was born on September 10, 1941, in Noakhali's Doulatpur -- his maternal grandfather's residence.
He grew up in Old Dhaka's Debendranath Das lane and studied in Pogose school, where he befriended fellow actor Prabir Mitra, before completing his HSC from Mymensingh City High School. He completed his higher studies in Jagannath College.
"I am physically unwell," said Prabir Mitra. "I am in shock. He was one of my dearest friends."
ATM Shamsuzzaman started his career as assistant director to Udayan Chowdhury, a renowned name at the time, for the film "Bishkonna". Even though he surfaced as an actor in 1965 in various comic roles, his first notable performance that shot him to fame was in Amzad Hossain's "Noyonmoni" (1976).
In a career spanning over six decades, he delivered excellent performances in "Surja Dighal Bari" (1979), "Dayee Ke?" (1987), "Madam Fuli" (1999), "Churiwala" (2001), "Mon Boshena Porar Table E" (2009) and "Chorabali" (2012), among many others.
His performance as Begaar Ali in Chashi Nazrul Islam's Liberation War-based film, "Ora Egaro Jon", will be celebrated for generations to come.
ATM Shamsuzzaman's portrayal of the character Mondol in "Golapi Ekhon Train E" (1978) earned him appreciation both at home and abroad, including the Moscow International Film Festival. His role of Kodom Ali in Aftab Khan Tulu's "Dayee Ke?" (1987) earned him a National Film Award.
In his illustrious career, he performed in more than 300 films.
"He had all the qualities that an actor should," said eminent actor Babita, who shared the screen with him in "Golapi Ekhon Train E" and "Noyonmoni".
"It is heartbreaking to hear of this loss."
Renowned actor and Member of Parliament Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque worked with ATM Shamsuzzaman in many projects.
"I was just thinking today [yesterday] that I should call him," he said.
"Sadly, I can never call him again. He was a cut above legendary -- he could master any role at will. Another admirable thing about him was that he perfectly balanced family and career."
"All the talented names in the industry are leaving us," said actor Salma Begum Sujata.
"ATM Shamsuzzaman was a man of many talents, but more importantly, he was a gem of a person."
Besides films, his memorable projects on television include "Ronger Manush", "Bhober Haat", "Goru Chor", "Ghor Kutum", "Noashal", "Pita Putro" and "Sinduk Nama", among many others.
"He was obsessed with his work," said Suchanda, who worked with him in many productions and also directed the Shamsuzzaman-starrer film "Hajar Bochor Dhore."
"I felt honoured to be able to work with him."
"He was incomparable as a person," said renowned actor Anwara. "I am extremely hurt by the news of his passing. I am praying for his departed soul."
Veteran actor Abul Hayat said, "I would call him Khokon Bhai or sometimes Khokon Da. We lost such a good soul."
Apart from them, actors Sohel Rana, Tariq Anam Khan, Salahuddin Lavlu, Masum Reza also recollected their memories with him and prayed for his departed soul.
ATM Shamsuzzaman's pairing with noted thespian Salahuddin for his directorial debut "Molla Barir Bou" (2005), for which he also wrote the story, screenplay and dialogues, was an instant hit.
He was awarded the Ekushey Padak in 2015 and won the National Film Award five times for his outstanding performances.
According to his final wishes, his body was not taken to the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation or to the Shaheed Minar.
He was laid to rest at the Jurain Graveyard, after his Namaz-e-Janaza at Narinda Pir Shaheb Mosque after Zuhr prayers.
He left behind his wife, Runy Begum, three daughters and a son.