Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao died on Wednesday, November 27, after suffering an apparent heart attack while filming a reality show. He was 35.
“UTA mourns the loss of our friend and client Godfrey Gao,” United Talent Agency said in a statement to Us Weekly. “Godfrey was an incredible talent and a tremendously kind person. We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will be very missed.”
Gao “suddenly fell down to the ground while running” on the set of the Zhejiang Television competition Chase Me in Ningbo, China, according to a statement released by the show’s producers. Medical staff treated Gao on the spot before rushing him to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
“In the early hours of November 27, our beloved Godfrey collapsed while filming on set. Unfortunately, following three hours of medical rescue efforts, he left us. We are very shocked and saddened and even until now find it impossible to accept,” Gao’s agency, JetStar Entertainment, said in a statement. “Thank you media friends and every fan of Godfrey’s for their concern. His management and team were by his side and his family were urgently rushed to the location.”
The agency added, “Please respect Godfrey’s family in this time of sorrow and refrain from disturbing them. We will accompany Godfrey’s family to handle discreet funeral arrangements. Thank you, everyone.”
Gao’s friend and former manager Andrew Ooi told Variety, “I am deeply saddened by the news. Godfrey was not only a client at one point but, more importantly, a friend. We will miss him dearly, and our hearts go out to his family, especially his parents.”
The hashtag #StopFilming trended on the Chinese social media website Weibo on Wednesday after the news of Gao’s death broke, with many criticizing Chase Me for being too physical of a competition.
Gao was born in Taiwan and moved to Vancouver, Canada, as a child. He went on to become the first Asian model to appear in a Louis Vuitton campaign. He also appeared in the 2013 movie The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones alongside Lily Collins and Lena Headey.
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