Basketball champion Ji Zhe, who played for the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association, passed away at the age of 33 on Thursday.
Ji had been battling lung cancer for more than a year at the time of his passing, according to Shanghaiist. Ji had won a total of three championships on teams led by NBA legend Stephon Marbury.
Ji was once played by the late model and actor Godfrey Gao in the film “My Other Home”, a 2017 biopic about Marbury’s life.
Gao, who collapsed and died from cardiac arrest only eight days before while filming a reality show in China, played the role of the Ducks’ power forward based on Ji Zhe.
While Gao’s untimely death was widely attributed to the stress of being overworked as he had been filming for 17 hours the day of his passing, Ji’s equally untimely death from cancer has once again shocked and saddened fans of both well-known celebrities.
Upon Ji’s passing, Stephon Marbury posted a statement on his Weibo about his former teammate:
“This moment I feel saddened for your family members who love you. My bro, my teammate, my companion, my captain, I hope everything is smooth in the other world. I pray that your family members can bear the pain of loss, and hope they can stand in braveness. They can feel the energy by people who love you everywhere in the world. R.I.P.”