File Photo - Prabudhha Das Gupta
Model, VJ Sophiya Haque Dead
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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 at the hospital 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.

Her acting agency, Cole Kitchenn, said she had been diagnosed with a "form of cancer just several weeks ago, and died suddenly but peacefully in her sleep last night".

Managing director Stuart Piper added, "Sophiya was one of the most inspirational people I ever met. She was the kind of person you always want to spend time with: full of light, warmth, compassion, care and with an infectiously wicked sense of humour and I loved every minute of working with her".

"On stage, it was like you were watching her in close up even if you were sat at the back of the stalls such was her star presence and charisma. I am so desperately sad that she has been lost to the world at such a tragically young age, but feel blessed to have known her. Our whole team miss her greatly," Piper said.

Haque, best known in India as a bubbly Channel-V VJ, was a popular screen and stage 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 currently playing Sylvia in Privates on Parade at the West End.

"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," her agent, Oliver Thomson, said.

He described her 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 in 2002. This led to a number of plum roles in musicals, including as Janoo Rani in Far Pavilions.

Her most recent one was as Soraya in Wah! Wah! Girls, described as a good-natured Bollywood musical by critics.

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.

She had also just completed filming a regular character of Senkhara in the Nickelodeon TV series House of Anubis and as Sarala in the feature Jadoo.
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