Willie Chan, the man responsible for discovering and ultimately managing Jackie Chan, has died at 76.
The Malaysian-born film producer and talent manager died in his sleep between Tuesday night and Wednesday night, according to Variety.
Jackie Chan posted a tribute on Facebook celebrating the life of the man who managed him for 11 years.
“Another important person in my life has passed away….. Willie Chan. A lot of people know that without you back then, I would not be where I am today. But what people don’t know were the things that we went through together. Only you and I know, and understand each other. You’re my teacher, my brother, my “Dai Lo”…. l’ll miss you always. Rest In Peace 🙏🏻,” Chan wrote.
Hong Kong superstar Daniel Wu, who was also managed by Willie Chan, post his own tribute on FaceBook.
“I am at that age where the people who were around to shape my life when I was young are starting to go. Willie Chan was my manager for 11 years and helped make me a star in Asia. But more importantly he was the one who took a young stuntman and turned him into the global phenomenon known as Jackie Chan. Your energy and zest for life and your contributions to the Hong Kong film industry will be missed. Rest In Peace Boss! Love you always!” Wu wrote.
Willie Chan met Jackie Chan in the mid 1970s when he was a stuntman in Lo Wei’s “New Fist of Fury.” In 1985, the pair co-founded JCE group, where they produced a number of Jackie Chan’s movies and managed talents. After three decades, the pair mysteriously parted ways in 2008.
— Ara Paiaya (@arapaiaya) October 25, 2017
“He refused to listen to me and started to socialise only with the wealthy and influential,” he said. “I thought he no longer needed me and didn’t need me to help him with anything anymore.”
Willie Chan believed he was going to be soon replaced and decided to be the one to quit first.
“I do feel regret when we parted ways,” he said. “I worked with him for 37 or 38 years, from when he knows no English at all, taking him all over the place to find opportunities, to taking care of his family, the birth of his son, Jaycee, to finding a home for him in the U.S. I took care of everything. How can I not feel any regret?”
However, the pair eventually worked out their differences and maintained a good relationship, considering each other brothers.