Veteran Hong Kong actor Ng Man Tat died in hospital yesterday, according to media reports.
He was 70. The comedian, who acted in Stephen Chow movies such as Hail The Judge (1994) and the two-part A Chinese Odyssey (1995), was suffering from liver cancer, Hong Kong news outlet The Standard said.
Ng’s close friend Tenky Tin Kai Man, also an actor, said he died in the late afternoon at Union Hospital in Hong Kong with his family members, including his wife, children and siblings, at his side.
“He left us peacefully. Doctors had been prescribing medication to make him feel better,” Mr Tin was quoted as saying in The Standard.
“He passed away in his sleep.”
Ng was admitted to hospital on Feb 20 even though news reports earlier said he had previously sought treatment in Macau.
Mr Tin told the media last Sunday that his friend called him after surgery and said “the worst is over”.
Other friends who visited Ng in hospital also said he was fine.
There were no reports on why his condition deteriorated.
Mr Tin was previously quoted in media reports as saying his friend, who was based in China, told him about two months ago that he was in poor health.
Ng started his career in 1973, at the age of 22.
In 1991, he was given the Hong Kong Film Awards’ Best Supporting Actor award for his role in A Moment Of Romance, featuring Andy Lau.
Ng was also nominated for a number of other awards, including at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards.
He was once well known as Chow’s sidekick, although they had not collaborated since Shaolin Soccer in 2001.
But Ng denied that there had been a falling out between them and did not rule out working with Chow again.
Ng had been struggling with declining health in recent years.
In 2014, he was rushed to hospital with breathing problems, and was later diagnosed with heart failure.
The actor recounted the experience recently on Chinese reality show Trump Card, saying he had felt like he was dying.
Actor Chow Yun Fat, who was Ng’s classmate in an actor training course in 1973 and worked with him on productions such as All About Ah Long (1989), sent his condolences, saying that Ng had gone to a “painless and worry-free place”.
Stephen Chow said Ng had left too quickly.
“Mr Ng was my partner and friend for so many years…
“Although I’ve been paying attention to news about his health, his death still comes as a shock.”