Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor Godfrey Gao has died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while on set in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China in the early morning of November 27.
Born in Taiwan and raised in North Vancouver, the 35-year-old heartthrob had been filming for Chase Me—a physical endurance Chinese reality TV show where its contestants complete extreme sports tasks late at night—when he collapsed while running.
The actor’s Taiwanese agency JetStar Entertainment and Chase Me’s production team both confirmed Gao’s untimely death on Chinese social networking site Weibo.
Multiple media outlets have also reported Gao had been working a 17-hour day on set before he lost consciousness at nearly 2 a.m while cameras were still rolling.
Social media users are scrutinizing the reality show and its production company for pushing its contestants over their physical capabilities, without strict safety precautions or allowing adequate time for rest and recovery.
Many celebrities and fans are reeling at the fact the seemingly healthy young actor suddenly passed away, posting reactions and tributes on various social media platforms.
Stars like Harry Shum Jr., Simu Liu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, and Jamie Campbell Bower voiced their shock and disbelief from news of Gao’s death on Instagram and Twitter.
Many of Gao's fans from around the globe also posted reactions online.
Gao was known as the first Asian male to model for luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. He has appeared in films such as The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Legend of the Ancient Sword, and The Jade Pendant.
He studied at North Vancouver’s Capilano University before moving to Taipei in 2004 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.