The Taiwanese Canadian actor-model, 35, reportedly collapsed while filming a Chinese variety show called “Chase Me,” which requires participants to engage in intense physical activities such as obstacle courses, rope climbing and various other stunts.
Gao, who allegedly had an existing cold, worked for 17 hours straight prior to his death, beginning filming for the reality show at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 26.
He only stopped working around 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 27 after starting to feel some discomfort, according to CTWant.
In a leaked footage reportedly caught before his collapse, an exhausted Gao can be seen running and struggling to ascend a ramp.
Before fainting, he allegedly screamed repeatedly in Mandarin, “I can’t go on anymore!”
Gao, who suffered a cardiac arrest, was declared dead after nearly three hours of resuscitation at a hospital.
Later in the day, a physician from National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) said that his heart attack may have resulted from overwork and stress, United Daily News reported.
According to the physician, Gao’s stress led to a spike in adrenaline levels, which then raised his heart rate to a state called ventricular tachycardia (VT).
VT, along with ventricular fibrillation (VF) — types of ventricular arrhythmias, or abnormal heartbeats that begin in the ventricles of the heart — is responsible for most sudden cardiac deaths in the U.S., which account for approximately 300,000 deaths per year.
The physician pointed out that VT can occur even in the healthiest-looking person under tremendous stress.
“In the early hours of Nov. 27, our beloved Godfrey collapsed while filming on set,” Gao’s agency, JetStar Entertainment, said in a statement. “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.”
Following Gao’s death, fans took to social media to question the show’s safety standards, with many calling it to be canceled altogether.
“I’m more angry than anything about Godfrey Gao’s death because it was 100% preventable. That show better take responsibility for this and take proper measures to ensure the safety of future guests; or just cancel the show in its entirety. What happened on #ChaseMe is NOT okay,” one Twitter user wrote.
I’m more angry than anything about Godfrey Gao’s death because it was 100% preventable. That show better take responsibility for this and take proper measures to ensure the safety of future guests; or just cancel the show in its entirety. What happened on #ChaseMe is NOT okay.
— Luna (@LunaIsFree_) November 27, 2019
CHASE ME HAS NO SAFETY REGULATIONS. LUCAS IS FIT AF TOO AND HE COULD BARELY BREATHE!!! AND NOW GODFREY GAO SUDDENLY PASSED AWAY FROM FILMING FOR 17 HOURS STRAIGHT?!? CANCEL THE DAMN SHOW!!!!!! https://t.co/5O8wbqcyfv
— 강 정란 ✨ (@keidihang) November 27, 2019
as a long time fan of zhejiang tv they actually need to cancel the chase me reality show like this is putting the lives of loved celebrities in danger. rest in piece godfrey gao
— trash (@kazurichii) November 27, 2019
Godfrey gao passed away like im sick he was so young and his death was definitely preventable ugh whatever that chase me show is, they need to cancel it NOW
— ♡jungkook come back please i miss you ❁ (@koookiecream_) November 27, 2019
they need to cancel the show, absolutely. every guest is pushed to their limits, i remember videos of yuqi and lucas breathing really hard and almost on their knees for the extreme fatigue and godfrey gao died after collapsing. this is unacceptable. #ChaseMe
— 구름이 ☁️ #FeelSpecial ♡ (@shinegooreum) November 27, 2019
Cancel the fucking show that killed Godfrey Gao, that’s the least they could do #ChaseMe
— – We move to Spanish, because that’s BS – (@Juvelenah) November 29, 2019
as much as thrilling the show was, I really hope they cancel chase me for good. it’s too unsafe for anyone to take part in 🙁
— aly🌸 (@kitkathyeri) November 28, 2019
Just cancel the program seriously.
It is not worth a person’s health or life.
CANCEL THE PROGRAM <CHASE ME>
— tina (@linmogege) November 27, 2019
yo can the cancel chase me like right now? that show needs to end PRONTO
— r&b taeil | jongin baby mama (@xuxi_mommy) November 27, 2019
i hope to god they just completely cancel chase me. what a horrible horrible show
— 🌱 (@renjuncunt) November 27, 2019
Zhejiang Satellite TV, which produces and broadcasts “Chase Me,” replaced the controversial episode scheduled for 9:10 p.m. on Nov. 29 with another program.
The network also announced that it will bear responsibility for Gao’s death, according to China Daily.