Early Wednesday morning, Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao (“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”) died. He was 35 years old.
Gao was filming a Chinese reality television show called “Chase Me” — in which celebrities and everyday people compete in various physical challenges — when he suddenly collapsed from an apparent heart attack. After being rushed to the hospital, he passed away three hours later.
The producers of “Chase Me” released a statement on Weibo about the events that transpired, stating in a translation that appeared on CNN that Gao “suddenly fell down to the ground while running, medical staff treated him on the spot, he was then rushed to hospital for treatment.” The statement noted that producers were contacting Gao’s family to “properly handle the aftermath.”
“We are very shocked and saddened and even until now find it impossible to accept. Thank you media friends and every fan of Godfrey’s for their concern. His management and team were present and his family were urgently rushed to the location. Please respect Godfrey’s family in this time of sorrow and refrain from disturbing them. We will accompany Godfrey’s family to handle discreet funeral arrangements. Thank you, everyone.”
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Since news of his passing, several notable friends and fans of Gao’s have publicly paid their respect, including Henry Golding and Harry Shum Jr., who played Magnus Bane in Freeform’s “Shadowhunters” after Gao had in “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.”
I am shocked & heartbroken to hear of Godfrey Gao’s untimely passing. He was a pioneer in the Asian community that stretched our imaginations on what was possible in the industry. To the original Magnus who left us way too soon, you left an impression on us that’ll last forever. pic.twitter.com/eYKlRJdlTJ
— Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) November 27, 2019
My heart is absolutely shattered. Godfrey left us far too soon and in far too tragic of a way.https://t.co/ZDEWvUx54u
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) November 27, 2019
Rip Godfrey Gao.. pic.twitter.com/PEBHyDl4hQ
— Love Trans People (@IndyaMoore) November 27, 2019
Gao’s “Mortal Instruments” co-star Lily Collins also posted about his unexpected passing on her Instagram Story, with a photo from the film. “Gone too soon,” she wrote. “You will be missed @godfreygao.”
Born in Taiwan and raised in Canada, Gao was the first Asian male model to appear in a Louis Vuitton campaign and had appeared in a number of Chinese-language television shows. Gao had reportedly been filming on set for 17 hours straight before he collapsed, and his passing has led to a social media campaign for “Chase Me” to be canceled.