News of Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao’s passing came as a shock to everyone yesterday (Nov 27), with reports sharing that the 35-year-old had collapsed in the middle of filming Chinese variety show Chase Me. The show pits celebrity contestants against each other in a battle of physical strength and endurance, with Godfrey making a guest appearance in an upcoming episode.
According to eyewitness reports, Godfrey’s heart “stopped for three minutes” following his collapse. After 10 minutes of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the doctor managed to get the actor’s heart beating again, and Godfrey was rushed to the hospital.
However, Godfrey could not be resuscitated upon arrival at the hospital, and passed away the same day.
Follow-up reports have claimed that the actor had been “working for 17 hours straight” prior to his demise. It is speculated that the midnight filming hours contributed to Godfrey’s fatigue as well.
Reports have shared that Godfrey’s rumoured girlfriend, a non-celebrity named Bella, is currently in Zhejiang, China, together with Godfrey’s family and the two CEOs of Godfrey’s management agency to identify the actor’s body.
Following the news of his demise, Godfrey’s close friends and celebrity colleagues could only express their shock and dismay, and many took to their social media accounts to express their condolences and pay tribute to the late star.
The Taiwanese-American singer-actress, who had just met up with Godfrey two days ago, expressed her disbelief upon hearing the news. She shared that the duo had made plans to meet again on Friday (Nov 29) for Taiwanese ex-basketball player James Mao’s wedding.
“We are still in shock and disbelief. We just saw you a few days ago and told you to be safe during the show recording, and we’re supposed to see each other at [James]’s wedding. How can this happen so sudden?? How? Why??!! G, we love you, and we miss you dear brother. Rest well (sic),” she wrote in her caption.
Godfrey was set to be a groomsman at the Taiwanese former basketball star’s wedding tomorrow (Nov 29). James uploaded a broken-hearted emoji on his Instagram Story, adding a second caption in English, “This is not how it's supposed to be. We [were] supposed to go snowboarding in February. I'm supposed to see you in two days. We [were] supposed to grow old together. Why [are] you leaving me so early? I love you always my brother. I’m heartbroken and speechless. We will have a glass of whiskey again one day together. Rest in Heaven.”
Calvin Chen and Johnny Huang
Calvin, who was part of Godfrey's team during filming for Chase Me, uploaded a group picture in the wee hours of the morning today (Nov 28).
“We only met for a while at the airport. Even though there were plenty of empty seats on the plane, we insisted on sitting together, chatting about work, our lives, and the future. Even though we don’t keep in contact much, we still had loads of topics to chat about. I guess it’s because you’re just so easy-going and cheerful. I never thought that this group picture we took before filming started would be our last picture together. Rest in peace, Godfrey! We’ll always be with you,” wrote the Taiwanese singer-actor.
Johnny, who was reportedly one of the first to alert the staff of the actor’s condition when he collapsed, also cancelled an upcoming live broadcast that had been scheduled to take place tomorrow to celebrate his birthday out of respect for Godfrey’s passing.
The duo had just worked together on upcoming drama We Are All Alone, which is set to broadcast next year.
In a Weibo post, the Chinese actress recounted the last time she had met Godfrey.
“We bumped into each other two days ago at an event, and you struck up a conversation with me, asking me if I was thirsty before taking off to get water for me,” she recalled. “You’ve always been so gentlemanly, with a passion for life, who dotes on animals. You’re bashful, and it takes a while for you to get comfortable, but when filming wrapped, you hugged each and every one of the production crew, and made a pact with me to bring me around to sample the delicacies of Taiwan when I visit.”
“When we were in Paris, you become so excited when talking about the movie that you were about to film. You were always so professional and such a good co-star, taking care of everyone around you. You were such a good person, rest in peace.”
The Malaysian-born actor, who had been in Paris together with Qin Lan and Godfrey, posted a number of pictures that Godfrey had taken of them during the trip.
“He took these photos, [and] even said [that] he will show me around LA next time when I visit. Life is fragile and strong, cruel and compassionate at the same time. Rest in peace my friend,” he wrote in his caption.
Blackie Chen and Christine Fan
Godfrey had been a groomsman at Christine and Blackie’s wedding in 2011. When Christine first heard that Godfrey had collapsed, she uploaded a post with the caption, “I’m really so worried.” She later deleted the post. Then, after the news of Godfrey’s passing was confirmed, she uploaded a picture of a black background with the caption, “My heart has shattered.”
Similarly, Blackie uploaded a picture of a black background, with the caption, “Extremely sad... you’re just like an angel on earth.” He later uploaded an old video of Godfrey playing basketball with the caption, “Today’s a day where hearts are shattered everywhere. This is a video that I especially cherish, the day we first met 15 years ago. I remember you were just 20 then, you had just returned from Canada, looking for an opportunity. 15 years later, I’ll never forget your progress, your modesty, and kindness.”
“We’re all devastated, and can’t bear to part with you,” the caption continues. ”Thank you for being in this world and giving us so many beautiful memories. We’ll always remember you. Let’s meet in heaven.”
The Taiwanese model-actress, who worked with Godfrey in the 2013 movie 101 Proposals, uploaded a post on her Weibo, sharing her dismay.
“Too sad… your honesty, your hard work, your modesty, the way you were so detached from all worldly affairs, your good sides, and the positive aspects of yourself that you didn’t even know about. I can’t bear to believe that this is true, but you’ve since spread your wings and flown off. My dear Godfrey, rest in peace,” she wrote.
The Taiwanese singer-actress starred alongside Godfrey in the 2009 drama, Momo Love, playing a pair of siblings. During a press conference for one of Cyndi’s new albums, Godfrey had made a surprise appearance along with some of their other co-stars to show their support.
Upon hearing the news, Cyndi uploaded an all-black picture on her Instagram, along with a crying emoji and a broken-hearted emoji.
The Taiwanese host uploaded a picture taken together with Godfrey, along with the caption, “So devastated! Thank you for leaving me such beautiful memories. We will meet again!”