By Lauren Huff
April 17, 2020 at 08:54 PM EDT
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Credit: John Hryniuk/Getty Images

Ranjit Chowdhry, the Bollywood star best known in the U.S. for his work on the NBC sitcom The Office, died Wednesday at 64 in Mumbai. Raell Padamsee, his half-sister, confirmed the news with an Instagram post that paid tribute to him as an "actor, writer, maverick."

According to local reports, Chowdhry resided in New York prior to his death but had recently traveled to India. He was unable to return home because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. While in India, he suffered a ruptured ulcer in his intestine and died during emergency surgery.

Chowdhry got his start in a number of Bollywood films in the late 1970s and early '80s before making his way to Hollywood. There he had roles in television series such as Law & Order: SVU, Prison Break, Cosby, NYPD Blue, Falcone, and Girls.

The Office fans will recall Chowdhry's two-episode arc in season 5: He played a telemarketer named Vikram, who was recruited by Steve Carell’s Michael Scott to work at his eponymous paper company.

On the film side, Chowdhry wrote and starred in the 1991 feature Sam & Me, which was honored with the Golden Camera Special Mention at the Cannes Film Festival. He also had roles in films including Last Holiday, Autumn in New York, King of the Jungle, and Mississippi Masala.

“This guy made magic out of nothing, filling paper thin roles with so much depth,” actress Poorna Jagannathan tweeted Wednesday. “I always saw my father when I was with him- the same humor, stubbornness and brilliance. Heartbroken, dear friend. RIP.”

Director Sanjay Gupta, who worked with Chowdhry on the 2002 movie Kaante, also paid tribute to him on Twitter. “RIP my friend Ranjit Chaudhury. Had the pleasure of working with you in KAANTE,” Gupta wrote. “Thank you for the joy you gave us through your performances. KHATTA MEETHA is my favourite. Keep smiling wherever you are.”

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