Who is Godfrey Gao? Taiwan model collapses and dies during physical challenge reality TV show

Godfrey Gao dies while shooting for The Zhejiang Television show 'Chase Me'

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Godfrey Gao
Godfrey Gao speaking at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International, for "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore

Actor and model Godfrey Gao died on Wednesday after collapsing during the shooting of a Chinese reality TV show. The Taiwanese-Canadian model was 35. The model's agency JetStar Entertainment said Gao suddenly fell to the ground while running.

The Zhejiang Television show "Chase Me" features celebrities engaged in various physical challenges. Taiwan News reported that Gao was heard shouting "I can't carry on," before collapsing to the ground. Citing Tencent News, the paper said camera crew gathered around Gao and kept filming the incident, mistaking that the fall was part of the show.

What is 'Chase Me' and what happened to Gao?

collapsed on the ground at 2am on Wednesday morning. Chase Me is a reality TV show that is shot during night at locations. It involves two teams of celebrity participants competing in races. According to Chinese media reports, some of the other participants included Hong Kong actor William Chan and boy band Fahrenheit member Calvin Chen.

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2-hour attempt to revive him fails

According to Malaysia's Star, photographs from the scene showed a fellow participant with hands clasped in prayer even as paramedics tried to resuscitate the man on the ground.

"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 ... After 2 hours of all-out efforts to save him, the hospital [said] he had suffered a sudden cardiac death," the organisers of the show said in a statement.

Celebrity status in China

Godfrey Gao, who is also known as Gao Yixiang, was born in Taiwan to a Taiwanese father and a Malaysian mother. But Gao raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. He returned to Taiwan in 2004 to begin his career as a model and actor Gao attained big celebrity status in China through popular TV shows. Gao was also the first Asian man to feature as a model for fashion brand Louis Vuitton.

Gao, who made fame in China with Remembering Lichuan in 2016, had also acted in Hollywood films like The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.