Taiwanese-born and North Vancouver-raised international model and actor Godfrey Gao has died after suffering an apparent heart attack while filming a Chinese reality TV show.
According to multiple Asian media outlets such as Taiwan News and the Straits Times, the 35-year-old celebrity was filming Chase Me, a physical endurance competition show in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China when he collapsed on the morning of November 27.
The actor’s agency JetStar Entertainment confirmed Gao had passed away early Wednesday morning (November 27) in a statement posted on Chinese social networking site Weibo.
Chase Me’s official Weibo account also released a statement, which said Gao was running during the filming segment when he suddenly slowed and fell to the ground.
“The show’s medical staff began rescue efforts right away, and then rushed him to the hospital,” read the statement. “After more than two hours of intense rescue efforts, the hospital announced that Gao had died from sudden cardiac arrest. We feel incomparable pain and extreme sadness.”
Social media users are scrutinizing the reality show and its production company for pushing its contestants over their physical capabilities, without allowing adequate time for rest and recovery.
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.