Actor and model Godfrey Gao died Wednesday, November 27, of an apparent heart attack, after collapsing on the set of the reality show Chase Me. Godfrey Gao was Taiwanese-Canadian, born in Taiwan, but he moved to Vancouver, Canada, with his family as a child.
Working as a model and actor, Gao became the first Asian model to appear in a Louis Vuitton campaign. His acting credits include a number of Chinese films and television shows, such as the 2016 drama Remembering Wang Lichuan, and the sci-fi film Shanghai Fortress, which was acquired by Netflix. He also appeared in the American film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, in which he played the character Magnus Bane. The film is based on the bestselling book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Gao starred alongside Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Lena Headey. The book series was later adapted into the television series Shadowhunters.
Gao was competing on the Zhejiang Television competition reality show Chase Me, which was filming in Ningbo, China. The show first debuted earlier this month on November 8th, 2019. The cast, featuring actors, actresses, and singers, are split into two teams, competing against each other to win races. They are put through intense physical activities, including obstacle courses, rope climbing, and other stunts. The competitions usually revolve around running through cities at night. Other cast members include Fan Chengcheng, Chinese singer and member of the band NEX7, Taiwanese singer and actor Jam Hsiao, and Chinese gymnast Li Xaiopeng.
Reported by Us Weekly, Gao collapsed suddenly while running. He was treated on set by medical staff, before being rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died. United Talent Agency, JetStar Entertainment, along with the reality show's producers, have issued statements on Gao's passing. Gao died from an apparent heart attack and was 35 years old. Some people report that Gao had a cold that day, and was forced to work a 17-hour day, filming from 8:30am until 2:00am the next morning, when he collapsed. After three hours of medical efforts to revive him, he passed of cardiac arrest.
Gao's death has spurned a discussion of the treatment of the cast on Chase Me, with the #StopFilming trending on the Chinese social media site Weibo. The activities the competitors go through are seen as too intense, and people are highlighting instances where the cast seem exhausted, and are made to participate in more activities, despite reluctance. Reality shows are consistently under criticism for how they treat their cast members and issues on the show.
Source: Us Weekly