Renowned writer Rashid Haider passed away at his residence in the capital's Fuller Road at 8:30am yesterday.
He was 80.
He died of old-age complications.
Rashid Haider was formerly the director of Bangla Academy and executive director of Nazrul Institute. He received the Bangla Academy Award in 1984, and the coveted Ekushey Padak in 2014, among several other accolades, for his contributions with the pen.
Haider was born on July 15, 1941 in Pabna's Dohapara village, and graduated in Bangla from the University of Dhaka. It is during his time at the DU that he began journalism through the magazine Chitrali. He was also a member of the Pakistan Writers' Guild in 1964.
"Rashid Haider started writing from his early ages and played vital role in developing modern prose in Bangla," said Professor Abdul Alim, former head of the Department of Bangla in Pabna university of Science and Technology.
Among his many acclaimed works is Sriti 71, Shahid Buddhijibi Koshagrontho and Asamabriksha. He was the author of more than 70 books throughout his illustrious career.
As a member of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya, Haider wrote the famous Toilo Shonkot, and acted in Nagorik's first play, Baki Itihash.
Abul Hayat, a legendary name in television and theatre, mourned Rashid's death.
"His [Rashid's] brother, Zia Haider, was the founding president of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya. I have some fond memories with Rashid -- I was especially moved when he published a beautiful write-up about me on my 75th birthday," he told The Daily Star.
Nagorik Natya Sampradaya conveyed their condolences at the news of his death.
Theatre actor Sara Zaker on a Facebook post wrote, "Rashid bhai was a member of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya, Zia bhai's younger brother. When we did a play written by him, 'Toilo Shonkot', it was coincidentally Asaduzzaman Noor's debut stage performance too. His work during his time at the Bangla Academy -- 'Smrity 71' -- will remain a great achievement for the entire country."
"Rashid Haider was a wonderful mix of journalistic intelligence and literary sense. Smrity 71 is a masterpiece on the Liberation War," said freedom fighter and writer Robiul Islam Robi, adding, "All members of the Haider family played vital roles in intellectual work in the country. His brother. Professor Zia Haider passed away a few years ago and now his [Haider's] death is a big loss as well."
Noted thespian Ferdausi Majumdar said Rashid was a staunch admirer of theatre. "We can never forget him or his research and work on our Liberation War," she said.
"He was a very close senior of mine," said theatre legend Mamunur Rashid, adding, "We sat down for long conversations many times at Bangla Academy, it was a delight. He was an extremely talented and dedicated person."
He said the writer especially loved books on selected works from 200 years of Bangla Natok, which was published by the Bangla Academy under his supervision.
Actor Tariq Anam Khan said Rashid Haider was an inspiration to him.
"His biggest achievement was the publication of the list of freedom fighters -- that is a huge undertaking that he successfully accomplished," Tariq said.
"He called me 'tui', out of adoration. Out of all the writers that emerged after our independence, he stood out."
The esteemed writer left behind his wife and two daughters -- both teachers at the DU.
He was laid to rest at the Azimpur Graveyard after his namaz-e-janaza at the DU Central Mosque.