London: Bollywood's evergreen star Dev Anand, whose flamboyant image and innate romantic spirit swayed millions of fans, died here on early Sunday morning following cardiac arrest.

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88-year-old Dev Anand, who had come here for medical check up, was not keeping well for the last few days, family sources informed.

The legendary actor's son Sunil was with him when he breathed his last.

Known for his trademark puff of hair, his sloping walk and smile, Dev Anand starred in countless hits like "Guide", "Paying Guest", "Baazi", "Jewel Thief ", "CID", "Johny Mera Naam", "Amir Garib", "Warrant", "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" and "Des Pardes".

When his contemporaries like Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar stopped playing the leading men in movies, the versatile actor did not lose his innate romantic spirit and continued to woo his young heroines in movies like "Johnny Mera Naam", "Des Pardes", "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" among others.

Dev Anand made his debut as an actor in 1946 in "Hum Ek Hain". By the time his "Ziddi" was released in 1947 he was a superstar and has never looked back.

For his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, Dev Anand was honoured with the prestigious the 'Padma Bhushan' in 2001 and 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award' in 2002.

He established his film production company 'Navketan International Films' in 1949 and has produced more than 35 movies.

Dev Anand has won two Filmfare Awards - India's equivalent of the Oscars - in 1958 for his performance in the film "Kala Paani" (Black Water) and in 1966 for his performance in "Guide".

"Guide" went on to win Filmfare Awards in five other categories including "Best Film" and "Best Director" and was sent as India's entry for the Oscars in the foreign film category that year.

Dev Anand co-produced the English Version of "Guide" with the Nobel Laureate Pearl S Buck ("The Good Earth").

In 1993, he received a Filmfare "Lifetime Achievement Award" and in 1996 he received a Screen Videocon "Lifetime Achievement Award".

Of late he was involved in the direction of a new all American film Project "Song Of Life" - a musical love story which was to be shot in the United States. He was to play the central character in the film which was to have a
predominantly American star cast.
Dev Anand is the second of three brothers who were active in Hindi Cinema. His brothers are Chetan Anand and Vijay Anand. Their sister, Sheel Kanta Kapur, is the mother of renowned film director Shekhar Kapur.

His films spoke of his modern sensibilities and desire to portray tomorrow's headlines today. The Bollywood legend always said that his films were expression of his world view and hence dealt with socially-relevant subjects.

His recent movies focused on the themes of present times like "Awwal Number", "Sau Crore", "Censor", "Mr Prime Minister" and the latest "Chargesheet" where he played the central character.

Even though after `Awwal Number', his movies did not do well at the box office, the evergreen hero's mantra was always to think positive. "I never give myself a chance to get depressed. I think ahead," he would say.

Dev Anand was born Dharam Dev Anand on September 26, 1923 in Shakargarh Tehsil of Gurdaspur district in undivided Punjab -- now in Narowal in Pakistan -- to well-to-do advocate Kishorimal Anand.

He graduated in English literature from the Government College, Lahore. After his graduation, Dev Anand left his hometown and came to Bombay, now Mumbai in the early 1940s.

He began his career in the military censor office at Churchgate, Bombay, on a salary of Rs 200 and joined his older brother Chetan as a member of the Indian People's Theatre Association.

Dev Anand was soon offered a debut as an actor by Prabhat Talkies to star in their film Hum Ek Hain (1946).

While shooting for the film in Pune, Dev struck a friendship with another fellow legendary actor Guru Dutt.

They had decided between themselves that if one of the two becomes successful first in film industry he would help the other to be successful.

 It was a mutual understanding between them that when Dev Anand produced a film, Guru Dutt would direct it and when Guru Dutt directed a film, Dev Anand would act in it.

In the late 40s Dev Anand got a few offers to star opposite singer-actress Suraiya in woman-oriented films, as the male lead.

Dev Anand considered himself lucky to get a chance to star opposite such an established actress and accepted the offers.

While shooting for these films, he became romantically involved with Suraiya.

The two of them were paired in seven films together - Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950) Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951), which were all successful at the box office.