Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor Godfrey Gao (高以翔) died yesterday after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest while filming a reality show in China’s Zhejiang Province.
The 35-year-old actor collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, but doctors were unable to save him, a Zhejiang news agency reported yesterday morning.
Gao’s death was confirmed by JetStar Entertainment — the agency that managed him — in a post on Sina Weibo.
Gao is survived by two older brothers.
Gao was unconscious for about three minutes before people realized that his heart had stopped, a source familiar with the matter said, asking to remain anonymous.
People tried to resuscitate him for about 10 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital, the source said, adding that his pupils were already fully dilated when he arrived at the hospital.
Gao, who was born Tsao Chih-hsiang (曹志翔) in Taipei in 1984, moved with his family to Vancouver, Canada, where he grew up and later studied at Capilano University.
In Zhejiang’s Ningbo to film the fourth episode of reality show Chase Me (追我吧) when he died, Gao is best known for being French fashion house Louis Vuitton’s first Asian model.
Participants in the show, produced by Zhejiang Television (浙江衛視), must run through Ningbo’s central business district at night, while being chased.
The show is physically demanding, and participants in the first three episodes have included bodybuilders, sports enthusiasts and mixed martial artists.
A report posted on the Tencent News Web site cited a fan of the show who claimed to have heard Gao say: “I cannot go on,” just before he collapsed.
Several camera operators focused on Gao after he collapsed, as they initially thought that Gao’s collapse was planned content for the episode, the report said.
Asked for more information, Zhejiang Television told Tencent Holdings (騰訊) and Sina Corp (新浪) — which manage Weibo — that it would update them when more information was available.
JetStar could not be reached by telephone for comment.
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