×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Taiwanese-Canadian Actor Godfrey Gao Dies After Collapsing on Set of Reality Show

Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao died Wednesday of sudden cardiac arrest after he collapsed while shooting a Chinese sports reality show in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, the show’s official social media account said. He was 35.

Gao was in the middle of a late-night shoot for Zhejiang TV’s reality show “Chase Me,” which puts contestants head-to-head in a series of athletic competitions, primarily by running through cities late at night. He was taken to the hospital but died hours later. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating and usually leads to death if not treated within minutes.

“I am deeply saddened by the news,” said Andrew Ooi, his friend and former manager at Echelon Talent. “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.” 

On Wednesday, “what happened to Godfrey Gao” and “Chase Me” both became top search items on China’s Weibo social media platform, where many complained that the show was too difficult and tiring for participants. Online commentary said Gao appeared to have a cold the day of his death, yet worked a 17-hour day from when the shoot began on Tuesday at 8:30AM until he collapsed while running at almost 2AM the next day. He shouted out “I can’t go on” before he fell, according to online comments from those who said they had witnessed the scene. Actors Huang Jingyu (“Operation Red Sea,” “Pegasus”), Hong Kong singer William Chan, and Taiwanese singer Calvin Chen of Taiwanese boy band Fahrenheit were also part of the same show.

Popular on Variety

Gao first rose to fame as a model, becoming the first Asian man to model for Louis Vuitton in 2011. He grew up in Vancouver, where he was a graduate of Capilano Unviersity. 

His China career took off after the 2016 local drama “Remembering Wang Lichuan,” which put him on the map for Chinese fans. Most recently, he appeared in July’s Chinese sci-fi film “Shanghai Fortress,” which was acquired by Netflix. He also had roles in Hollywood films such as 2013’s “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” an action film based on the eponymous popular young adult novel series, where he played alongside Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower.

Gao was meant to be a groomsman at former Taiwanese basketball star James Mao’s wedding this Friday. His body will be brought back to Taipei in the coming days. 

More Film

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    COLA Announces California On-Location Awards Winners

    “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Dolemite is My Name,” and HBO’s “Ballers” are among the winners of this year’s COLA awards. The COLAs recognize location managers, public employees and other professionals who help facilitate on-location production across the Golden State. This year’s awards program was held at the Universal Hilton. Finalists and winners are [...]

  • French movie director Jean Luc Godard

    How Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard Immortalized Each Other (Guest Column)

    With the passing of Anna Karina, a curtain has fallen on the French New Wave, that fabled cinematic movement that brought fame to the man who made her name, Jean-Luc Godard. Yes, Godard is still with us, as is “Breathless” star Jean-Paul Belmondo (practically the last of the living New Wave legends), but his moviemaking [...]

  • Richard Jewell

    Box Office: Clint Eastwood Suffers Worst Opening in Four Decades With 'Richard Jewell'

    Clint Eastwood might end up with a lump of box office coal after “Richard Jewell” sputtered in its domestic debut. Despite critical acclaim, Warner Bros.’ drama about the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing ignited with a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters. It’s a [...]

  • (from left) Tom (Henry Golding) and

    Emilia Clarke's 'Last Christmas' Crosses $100 Million at Global Box Office

    Universal’s “Last Christmas,” a romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, surpassed $100 million in global ticket sales. The milestone is a win for original fare, one that is especially impressive considering the movie was skewered by critics for its wacky twist ending. After six weeks in theaters, “Last Christmas” has earned $34.4 million [...]

  • DSCF0855.RAF

    'Jumanji 2' Rules Overseas Box Office With $85 Million

    Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” powered international box office charts, collecting $85 million from 34 markets over the weekend. The action-packed sequel kicked off in North America with $60 million for a global start of $145 million. “Jumanji: The Next Level” debuted in a handful of foreign territories last weekend, bringing box office receipts to [...]

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney Plus Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal With Canal Plus in France

    Ahead of its launch in France on March 31, 2020, Disney Plus has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Canal Plus Group, the country’s leading pay-TV company. The deal, which was first reported in the French newspaper Les Echos and confirmed by Canal Plus Group CEO Maxime Saada on his Twitter account, marks a new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content