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Last Updated: Monday, 28 March 2005, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
In pictures: Life of Ahmed Zaki

Ahmed Zaki

Egypt is mourning the loss of acclaimed film actor Ahmed Zaki, 55, who died of cancer on Sunday.

Ahmed Zaki in front of a poster for Days of Sadat

Zaki broke colour barriers in Egyptian films, becoming the first dark-skinned actor to take leading roles in Cairo's thriving cinema industry.

Ahmed Zaki escorts Jihan al-Sadat to screening of Days of Sadat in 2001

He played two Egyptian presidents on film, Gamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat, whose widow Jihan (left) attended the first screening in Cairo.

Egyptian actor Ahmad Zaki during a make-up session for his role in Days of Sadat

Zaki's portrayal of Sadat was seen by critics as a landmark for Arab cinema.

Ahmed Zaki with Adil Imam

Born into a poor family in rural Zagazig in the Nile Delta, he rose to become one of the top stars of Egyptian cinema.

Ahmed Zaki

Zaki was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004. Fans followed headlines about the ups and downs of his treatment closely.

Ahmed Zaki in January

In one of his last appearances in January, a tearful Zaki told fans: "I've been fighting a ferocious battle for a year against a damned illness, but you were with me. I love you and thank you very much."

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