TV comedian and movie actor Morris Rong (戎祥), who shot to fame after starring in the 2009 China-produced film Crazy Racer (瘋狂的賽車), died of a heart attack early yesterday at the age of 43.
Rong was not breathing and had no heartbeat on arrival at Taiwan Adventist Hospital at 2:24am after he lost consciousness at a KTV lounge, the hospital said yesterday. Doctors were unable to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead an hour-and-a-half later.
Rong’s wife, Salem Lai (賴芊合), said that her husband’s death came as a shock because he had no history of heart disease.
“Perhaps he was too tired these days and drinking could also have been a factor,” a tearful Lai said, adding that she was grateful for friends’ help and concern.
Rong, the son of Major General Rong Shao-hsin (戎紹鑫), who served as a security guard for late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), began his acting career as a TV variety show assistant and comedian.
His career plunged to its lowest ebb in 2007 when he was sent to jail for using marijuana.
After his jail term, Rong served as an ambassador against drug abuse. He also invested in a food store near Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan and in a pub in Taipei.
His acting breakthrough came in 2009 when he starred as a leader of a crime ring in the film Crazy Racer. The movie was a box office hit in China and its success helped him stage a comeback in Taiwan.
Rong also starred in several other popular Taiwanese and Hong Kong-produced films, including Gangster Rock (混混天團) and the Great Magician (大魔術師). His performance as a warlord in the latter won him critical acclaim.