Legendary Hong Kong comedy icon Ng Man-tat, the actor known for starring alongside Stephen Chow, has passed away from liver cancer at 70.
Heartbreaking news: Tenky Tin Kai-man, Ng’s friend and chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, announced the news on Saturday, according to South China Morning Post.
- “He left peacefully,” Tin said at the Tai Wai’s Union Hospital. “He died in his sleep.”
- Tin said Ng was not aware of how serious his condition was, and the actor was expecting to make a recovery.
- The actor passed away on Saturday at 5:16 p.m.
- Ng’s good friend and former TVB actor, Wilson Tsui, was also at the hospital to see the actor for the last time, Mothership reported.
- Tin said he would help prepare and organize his memorial.
Rise to fame: Born in Xiamen, southeastern China in 1951, Ng arrived in Hong Kong at age 5. He took up acting classes organized by Television Broadcasts in the 1970s and was classmates with Chow Yun-fat.
- Ng starred in the 1979 television series “Chor Lau-heung” and then in his first film “Heroic Cops” in 1981.
- The actor reportedly spiraled into drinking, gambling and womanizing when his acting career was picking up in the 1980s. Ng accumulated $300,000 Hong Kong dollars ($38,680) in debt and sought the help of his fellow actor Chow Yun-fat.
- “I’d feel ashamed if I had to declare bankruptcy. I realized that I needed to figure a way out. I didn’t dare telling my family at the beginning and so I went to find [Chow Yun-fat],” Ng said in an interview. “He did quite well in Hong Kong. He was popular and had made a lot of money. I asked him to lend me HK$300,000 in the 1980s, but he would not do so. I was upset. He wouldn’t lend me the money and wouldn’t say why.”
- Ng found success again when he started appearing in films and series starring Stephen Chow. Viewers loved their chemistry in “The Final Combat” and “The Justice of Life” in the late 1980s.
- He later appeared in other films starring Chow, including “All for the Winner” in 1990 and “Shaolin Soccer” in 2001.
- However, the two had a falling out in 2004 when Chow allegedly took Ng’s lead role in the film “Kung Fu Hustle.”
- Ng also starred in the classic kung fu comedy “Shaolin Popey II Messy Temple” in 1994.
Health complications: Ng suffered a heart attack while filming a promotional poster earlier this month, Shin Min Daily reported. He reportedly fell ill on set and collapsed on his side.
- After resting, the actor continued with filming and later apologized to the crew for what happened.
- Ng had to be placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after suffering from heart failure six years ago. He also had diabetes and lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds).
- The actor was sent to the oncology department after he was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 20 due to a serious illness, Lianhe Zaobao reported on Feb. 21.
- Tin announced on Feb. 27 that Ng had liver cancer. He also said the actor had surgery two months ago and was receiving treatment.
Feature Image via Miramax