Actor and model Godfrey Gao has died after a heart attack, his agency reported early Wednesday morning. He was 35.
The Taiwanese-Canadian actor reportedly collapsed during filming for a reality TV show in China. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died roughly three hours later.
In a statement, the producers of Zhejiang Television show "Chase Me", which Gao was filming at the time of his death and pits celebrities against regular contestants in a variety of physical challenges, said Gao "suddenly fell down to the ground while running, medical staff treated him on the spot, he was then rushed to hospital for treatment."
JetStar, Gao's agency, also released a statement. "We are shocked and saddened" by the incident, the agency said. They added that representatives were "always directly by his side," while family rushed to be with him.
The company thanked "friends in the media and everyone who supported Godfrey" for their thoughts and asked that Gao's family's privacy be respected as they begin to mourn his loss. The events must have come as a shock for them as well, given Gao's relatively young age.
Gao, who also went by the name Gao Yixiang, was born in Taiwan, but achieved success in China and globally. He was the first Asian man to model for Louis Vuitton and appeared in a number of Chinese-language TV shows. Gao was also cast in the 2019 sci-fi epic "Shanghai Fortress", and he was cast alongside Lily Collins and Lena Headey in the 2013 adaptation of "The Mortal Instruments". All of these roles spoke to Gao's range as a celebrity and his global appeal.
Since his death, reactions from across social media have highlighted his role in "The Mortal Instruments" series, as well as his appearances across a wide array of television and film. Some have also suggested that the producers of "Chase Me" should be held responsible for the incident.
For the most part, though, fans of Gao's simply expressed shock at his premature passing. They paid tribute with pictures and heartfelt messages about the role he played in all of their lives.
"Chase Me" is a reality competition show designed to push its contestants to their physical limits. Typically, only those in good physical condition are invited to participate. Previous challenges on the show have seen contestants involved in various races, usually in urban settings. In one challenge, contestants were asked to climb a tall office building and zipline down.
The production company behind the show said that everyone involved felt "incomparable pain." They also said that they would be arranging funeral arrangements in conjunction with Gao's family.