Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, known as the hero of the Battle of Longewala during the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, died at a hospital in Mohali on Saturday, PTI reported, quoting his family. He was 78, and was suffering from cancer.

The retired brigadier was a recipient of the Maha Vir Chakra, the country’s second highest gallantry award, for his role in Longewala in the Thar desert, where he and a group of soldiers held off a Pakistani attack in 1971. The battle was depicted in the 1997 Hindi film Border, in which actor Sunny Deol played Chandpuri.

Chandpuri was commissioned into the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment in 1963, and participated in the 1965 war against Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Chandpuri’s exemplary and heroic leadership in the Battle of Longewala would inspire young soldiers, PTI reported.