Chinese TV station scraps endurance reality show after Godfrey Gao, 35, died from a heart-attack while ‘filming the programme for 17 hours straight’
- China’s Zhejiang Satellite TV has cancelled reality show Chase Me permanently
- Announcement was made eight days after actor and model Godfrey Gao died
- The 35-year-old collapsed while on the set of the show, a race-style competition
- A spokesman said the production team had done its best trying to save the star
- Gao’s funeral is due to take place on December 15 in his hometown of Taipei
A Chinese TV station has cancelled a controversial reality TV show permanently after Taiwanese-Canadian actor and fashion star Godfrey Gao died from a heart attack at the age of 35 while filming the programme.
Chase Me, which started airing just last month, was a weekly endurance competition produced by Zhejiang Satellite TV.
Celebrities were put to race each other on a special open-air track, which were installed with a series of obstacles to test their strength, flexibility, speed and stamina.
China’s Zhejiang Satellite TV has cancelled Chase Me permanently after actor and fashion star Godfrey Gao died from a heart attack aged 35 while filming the programme. Gao was the first Asian model to lead a Louis Vuitton campaign. He is seen at a Louis Vuitton event in 2017
Celebrities raced each other on a special open-air track, which were installed with a series of obstacles to test their strength, speed and stamina at the now-scrapped show (pictured)
Godfrey, the first Asian model to be the face of Louis Vuitton, collapsed on set in Ningbo last Wednesday before being pronounced dead in hospital.
He reportedly filmed for 17 hours straight and cried out ‘I can’t keep going’ before dying.
Zhejiang Satellite TV announced yesterday that it had decided to scrap the programme, having halted its production on the day of Godfrey’s death.
The star’s remains were returned to his hometown of Taipei on Monday and his funeral has been schedule to take place on December 15.
The production team have been immersed in sorrow and self-blame since the accident happened, according to Lin Yong, director of Zhejiang Satellite TV.
‘We feel deeply sorry towards Godfrey, his mum and dad as well as all those who love Godfrey,’ Lin told state-owned local newspaper Qianjiang Evening News after announcing the permanent cancellation of Chase Me.
The interview was shared by the station on its official account on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.
A Chinese entertainment news site reported that Godfrey was unwell with a cold before taking part, but filmed ‘continuously’ for 17 hours before collapsing on set last Wednesday in Ningbo
Lin said the station had been focusing on handling the aftermath of Godfrey’s death, and therefore was not able to comment on the status of the matter until yesterday.
Chinese entertainment news site Sina previously reported that Godfrey was unwell with a cold before taking part in the show.
He was said to have filmed ‘continuously’ for 17 hours – from 8.30am on Tuesday November 26 to 1.45am – before collapsing.
It was also claimed by his friends he attended an event on the Monday and travelled straight to filming Chase Me without taking a rest day.
According to China’s Tencent News, an audience member heard Gao shout ‘I can’t keep going’ as he slowed down in the race, before he collapsed.
Lin stressed that Godfrey had only participated in the competition for two hours before collapsing.
‘The rest of the time, [he] was watching the other guests recording from the main stage,’ Lin explained.
The final footage of Godfrey emerged last week, showing him struggling to run and appearing exhausted moments before his collapse.
The final footage of Godfrey emerged last week on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter. The clip shows the star struggling to run and appearing exhausted moments before he died
Lin insisted that the station had done its best trying to save the supermodel.
According to him, two ambulances carrying three paramedics and two drivers were on call on set during the filming.
Godfrey started running at 1:26am and after 600 metres (1,968 feet) or so, he slowed down.
The star then sat down on the edge of a flower bed before falling to the ground at 1:30am.
After noticing the seriousness of the situation, one of the show’s directors immediately called over one of the ambulances; and paramedics started to give Godfrey first aid one minute and 46 seconds after he fell.
Twenty minutes later, Godfrey was taken to Ningbo Lihuili Hospital, where he died after two hours of emergency treatment.
Forever loved: The girlfriend of late supermodel Godfrey Gao, Bella Su, broke her silence two days after he died from a heart attack. She wrote on Instagram ‘You and I will always collide’
Shock death: Taiwanese-Canadian actor and fashion star Godfrey, the first Asian model to be the face of Louis Vuitton, died aged 35 while filming TV show Chase Me in Ningbo
Lin added: ‘Godfrey was a kind, sunny and popular celebrity. No matter how hard we had tried, we were unfortunately unable to save his life.
‘We express our deep apologies once again, and will shoulder relevant responsibilities.
‘All the pain and guilt, love and longing will have to be turned into one line: Godfrey, may you rest in peace.’
Missed: Photos of Godfrey and wreaths lined the street two days after the star’s death
Tribute: Floral tributes lined the streets in Ningbo as Godfrey’s fans mourned the late star
Commenting on the cancellation of Chase Me, China’s state broadcaster CCTV said it was an explanation and gesture of condolence from the station to Godfrey’s family and the public.
But it urged the entire entertainment industry to reflect upon the incident and take actions to prevent similar ‘tragedy’ from happening.
‘Nothing is more valuable than life,’ a report from CCTV said.
In 2011, Gao became the first Asian model to be signed by Louis Vuitton.
The model had also ventured into film, having appeared in movies in both China and Hollywood. They included the 2019 Chinese film Shanghai Fortress, and the 2013 title, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and The Jade Pendant.
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