Godfrey Gao (35) passes away while filming variety show ‘Chase Me’

Model and actor Godfrey Gao has suddenly passed away at the age of 35 after a heart attack on the set of variety show ‘Chase Me’.

Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor Godfrey Gao, whose star was on the rise in mainland China, died early Wednesday after collapsing during the filming of a popular reality TV show in southeastern China. He was 35. Gao had been shooting a segment as a guest contestant on Zhejiang Television’s hit show Chase Me in the southeastern Chinese city of Ningbo. Chase Me‘s format involves two teams taking part in physical contests in urban areas after midnight. The show is famous for being physically demanding, requiring its celebrity contestants to exert themselves almost constantly during filming. According to a statement released by Zhejiang Television, Gao suddenly slowed down during a running challenge and fell to the ground unconscious. “The on-site medical staff started treatment immediately and transported him to a hospital,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, after two hours of rescue treatment, the hospital pronounced him dead of sudden cardiac arrest.”

His agency, Jetstar Entertainment, confirmed the death.

“In the early hours of Nov. 27, our beloved Godfrey collapsed while filming on set. Unfortunately following three hours of medical rescue efforts, he left us. 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.”

A tragedy, though many fans are asking the question of whether this was ultimately preventable, bringing up the show’s conditions.

A Mandarin phrase which translates to  “Variety show Chase Me’s difficulty and intensity” has become a top trending topic on Weibo. Many netizens are expressing anger at what is seen as a dangerous variety show set-up – pointing to how difficult the physical tasks can be and how the show is filmed at night, often past midnight. It is also filmed outdoors, even in cold weather. 

The producers of the show also released a statement, though angered fans since it didn’t include an apology.

“Guest participant Godfrey suddenly collapsed to the ground while running. The programme’s on-site paramedics began lifesaving measures immediately and urgently transported him to the hospital,” the management behind Chase Me said in a statement. “After 2 hours of all-out efforts to save him, the hospital [said] he had suffered a sudden cardiac death.”

Guessing that is likely due to liability concerns.

Obviously the focus deserves to be on Godfrey and his career, but it’s easy to understand why fans are questioning whether his death was a preventable one. There’s a lot of rumors swirling around about the conditions on set that are hard to confirm, but needless to say hopefully it’s at least investigated for not only his sake but for others as well.

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