Fans and celebrities are reeling in shock after actor and model Godfrey Gao dies, aged 35

Godfrey Gao died on November 27, 2019, while filming a programme in China.
Facebook/Godfrey Gao

Taiwan-born Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao has died after collapsing on set while filming a Chinese variety programme on Wednesday (Nov 27). He was 35.

According to various reports, Gao was filming a programme called “Chase Me” for a Chinese television network when he suddenly collapsed. Three hours later, he was pronounced dead, Lianhe Zaobao reported.

Gao was reportedly filming a segment which required him to run when he passed out at 1.45am. In its report, Zaobao said that before collapsing, Gao had cried out: “I can’t anymore.”

The TV show Gao was guest starring in features celebrities engaged in strenuous physical activity as part of a race between two teams.

Since news of Gao’s death broke, Chinese netizens have taken to Weibo to question the sometimes extreme lengths taken to secure viewership ratings. Many asked if producers had arranged for medical personnel and an ambulance to be on standby before filming, while some wondered if Gao had been overworked.

The phrase “Difficulty and intensity of Chase Me” became the number one trending search term on the social media platform by Wednesday afternoon, with 8.14 million searches.

The other related search terms, “Chase Me statement” and “Godfrey Gao dies”, racked up 2.6 million and 2.9 million searches respectively.


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Born to a Malaysian mother and Taiwanese father, Gao was the first Asian model to ever model for Louis Vuitton. With boyish good looks and a height of 193cm, Gao eventually went into acting and appeared in various productions from Taiwan to Hollywood. His final film was Shanghai Fortress, which premiered in early August.

Fans and celebrity friends in disbelief

Gao’s death came as a shock to fans and friends, many of whom have taken to social media to express their sorrow.

Actor Aarif Rahman posted a tribute to Gao on his Weibo page, saying he did not expect Gao to “leave us so suddenly”, adding: “I hope you rest in peace, and I hope your family can get though this grief and pain courageously.”

Shu Qi, who worked with Gao on Shanghai Fortress, wished Gao a good journey to the afterlife.


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Actor Sunny Wang said in a tribute that he and Gao had “an interesting path” to becoming friends, and remarked that Gao was “one of the nicest human beings” he has ever known.

Taiwan-based celebrity Alex Niu said in an Instagram post that Gao was always admired for his handsome looks, but what was remarkable was his humility and approachable personality.

“What they don’t know is how humble he is, how approachable he is, how modest he is, how wonderfully unintimidating a star he is,” he wrote.


Chinese-Canadian triplets the Luu brothers also posted a message to Gao on Instagram, noting how he had welcomed them to Asia “with open arms”.

Fans also flooded Gao’s last and final Instagram post on November 23 to express their disbelief.

“I can’t believe it! Please tell me you are fine,” one fan wrote. “Please, please, tell us you are fine,” another said.