BEIJING-The Chinese TV show "Follow Me" is well known for challenging athletes' physical limits. Athletes climbing high-rises, sliding down obstacle courses and hanging under wire ropes often excite screaming fans.
But this Wednesday, 35-year-old actor and model Gao Yixiang suddenly died while recording the show in the eastern city of Ningbo, China. The show has attracted much attention in China. The production team of "Follow Me" issued a statement on Wednesday saying that Gao Yixiang fainted while running, apparently due to a heart problem.
Born in Taiwan and raised in Canada, Gao Yixiang's death has caused a wave of anger on the Chinese Internet. Millions of people have criticized the entertainment industry for focusing on ratings at the expense of security.
As of Wednesday night, Gao Yixiang's death was one of the most widely discussed topics on the Sina Weibo, a microblogging site with many users. This topic tag has been viewed hundreds of millions of times.
You have no heart, a Weibo user said to the show's production team.
Some people have called for boycotting Zhejiang TV, a state-owned television station that broadcasts the show. Some people also believe that the government should strictly monitor reality shows, including "Follow Me," and point out other cases of casualties in reality shows.
The awareness of the program's safety precautions is also too poor, the famous actor and director Xu Wei wrote on Weibo. "Absolutely responsible!"
Reality shows have become very popular in China in recent years, especially online. A news report from the official news agency Xinhua last year stated that the number of reality TV shows on the streaming platform reached 385 in 2018, double the number from 2017.
Even by the standards of the reality show, this year ’s first season of “Follow Me” has broken the boundaries. This show invites actors and ordinary people to participate in various sports challenges, often to the point of exhaustion.
The excitement of a thrilling moment is the main content of the show, and the shooting scene is usually the urban area of ??Ningbo at night. In a recent episode, a professional boxer fell into a ball pit and struggled out with the attention of his teammates.
According to a statement from the show group on Wednesday, Gao Yixiang suddenly fainted while filming the ninth episode of "Follow Me." The show team said that the medical staff at the scene tried to treat him but was unsuccessful. Gao Yixiang was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
We are extremely distressed and extremely sad! The statement said.
On Wednesday, a person answering the phone at Zhejiang Satellite TV said he could not find anyone who could comment on what happened.
Gao Gao is famous for his role as a model for Louis Vuitton and his role in many film and television works. In the national version of "Toy Story 3" released in Taiwan in 2010, Ken had been dubbed for Barbie's partner.
Gao Yixiang has a group of loyal fans in mainland China, with more than 5.7 million followers on Weibo. He is best known for playing a disabled architect in the soap opera "Meet Wang Lichuan."
Gao Yixiang's brokerage firm JetStar Entertainment confirmed his death on Wednesday.
(He) left us unfortunately, Jetstar said in a statement on Weibo. "We were shocked and saddened, so far we can't accept it!"
Gao Yixiang recently posted photos of attending a charity dinner and playing tennis with actor Adam Sandler on his Instagram account.
"Everyone can make a difference," he wrote in a July post, "as long as you persist."