Iconic Egyptian actress Shadia passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86 after a long battle with illness, leaving behind a glittering acting and singing career.
She passed away at a Cairo hospital after suffering a stroke and falling into a coma.
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and his wife paid a visit to the hospital upon hearing news of the actress’ deteriorating health.
She started her career of 117 movie roles in 1947 and ended it in 1984. She showed off her acting skills by taking on a wide range of diverse roles, from a desperate women who sells her daughter to feed her family, to an aspiring singer in a rags-to-riches story.
In the mid-1980s and at the height of her career, Shadia shocked her fans by announcing her retirement from singing and acting.
She said at the time that she did not want to play the role of the old woman after viewers had grown accustomed to seeing her as a young lady.
“I do not like people seeing the wrinkles in my face and comparing them to young lady that they used to know,” she remarked.
Despite her retirement however, she remained in the hearts of her fans and her films are constantly aired on television.
Shadia also performed in ten radio shows and the play “Rayya was Skeena”.
It was during that play’s run that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news did not deter her and she continued on acting in the show until the end of its run. She then traveled to France to receive treatment.
Soon after, she decided to retire and dedicated the rest of her life to religion and charitable work. Shadia donated her house to be transformed in a cancer research center. She shunned the media spotlight and refused all requests to sit for an interview.
Nobel laureate Najib Mahfouz described Shadia as a “very skilled actress who managed to bring the words of my novels to life.”
No one but her could have translated with such excellence words into cinematic art, he added.
Shadia’s brother Khaled Shaker told Asharq Al-Awsat that doctors did their best in treating the actress, but her health gradually deteriorated.