Popular entertainer Chu Ke-liang died of liver failure at 5:00am this morning, Monday, May 15, at National Taiwan University Hospital after a long battle with colorectal cancer. He was 70 years-old.
President Tsai Ingwen was among the many who sent condolences to Chu’s family. President Tsai wrote on Facebook that Taiwan had lost a generation’s King of Comedy.
“We hope he will continue to bring laughter in heaven,” said Chu’s family, who released a statement around 7am.
Born Hsieh Hsin-Ta (謝新達), Chu was known for his coarse humor, distinctive ‘toilet-lid’ hairstyle, and costumes. His stage name translates as ‘Brother Bright Pig.’
After rising to fame in the 1980s, Chu disappeared in 1995, after amassing huge gambling debts estimated at around USD 35 million. While reports of “sightings” occasionally appeared in the media, the press respected his privacy, and generally left him alone.
In 2009, however, an Apple Daily crew followed him around Kaohsiung, and then confronted him while he was eating a bowl of noodles. Chu later thanked the journalists for exposing him, as he had long wanted to make a comeback, but didn’t have the courage.
Chu starred in some of Taiwan’s most popular films in recent years including David Loman, and Night Market Hero.
Chu married four times and is survived by 2 sons and 3 daughters. His daughter Janet Hsieh is a popular singer/performer.