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Actors urged to shun overtime after Gao's reality show death

By ZOU SHUO | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-28 14:30
A scene from Shanghai Fortress features Chinese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao, who plays the military leader of an elite unit resisting an alien invasion. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The China Television Artists Association's actors committee has cautioned actors to say no to overtime work after Chinese Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao died from a heart attack he had while filming a reality show in China in the early hours of Wednesday.

Gao, from Taiwan, collapsed while filming an episode of Chase Me, a Zhejiang Television sports reality show, at around 1:30 am in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. He was 35.

The committee was deeply saddened by the news and would extend its condolences to Gao's family, it said in a microblog statement posted on Thursday.

Actors should protect themselves and refuse to work overtime, it said.

The committee also urged TV producers to ensure the safety of actors by giving them adequate rest and reducing the amount of physically intensive work.

The Taiwan agency that represented Gao, JetStar Entertainment, said Gao's manager and staff were with him during filming, and thanked fans for their concern.

"Please understand Godfrey's family is experiencing deep sorrow and grief, and avoid excessive disturbance to them," it said. "We will accompany Godfrey's family in handling the relevant matters with a low profile."

Chase Me, which pits two teams against each other in physical challenges at night, also released a statement on Wednesday. It said Gao was running during filming when he suddenly slowed and fell to the ground.

"The show's medical staff began rescue efforts right away, and then rushed him to the hospital, but we could not bring him back," it said. "For this we feel incomparable pain and extreme sorrow and we are willing to shoulder relevant responsibility."

Gao's fans and netizens lamented his death on social media, with some questioning the high physical demands of Chase Me. The hashtag "Godfrey Gao has died" generated more than 4.4 billion views by Thursday. A separate hashtag "the difficulty and intensity of Chase Me" has been viewed more than 1.22 billion times.

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