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Obituary: Alan Tang Died of Heart Attack at Age 64

By on March 30, 2011

Obituary: Alan Tang Died of Heart Attack at Age 64 thumbnail

“The Student Prince” 1960s Hong Kong film star, Alan Tan Kwong Wing died at the age of 64 on March 29, 2011. Alan had a heart attack and fainted at home. His maid called the ambulance. When paramedics arrived on the scene, Alan was confirmed to be dead. Alan was survived by his wife, Janet Yen, and two daughters.

Alan was a native of Shunde, Guangdong. He was a famous Hong Kong actor, producer and director. Alan had two elder brothers and an elder sister. Within the entertainment circle, Alan was often addressed as “Big Brother” due to his domineering traits and eagerness to help friends.

Before becoming an actor, Alan worked as an English translator at the radio station, while modeling at the same time. In 1963, 17-year-old Alan starred in his first film, The Student Prince <學生王子>. Due to his role in The Student Prince, Alan was given a nickname bearing the same title. After graduating from high school, Alan starred in movies with Josephine Siao Fong Fong, Yan Chun, and Connie Chan Po Chu in the 1960s.  Filming many youth-themed movies, he was often voted as the “Best Actor” by many film magazines. In 1972, Alan filmed a movie adapted from a Buddhist novel, Romance in the White House <白屋之戀>. Alan filmed over thirty films in Taiwan and did not return to Hong Kong until 1977. With his elder brother, Tang Kwong Chou, Alan founded the Wing-Scope Film Production, Ltd, which produced films centering around mafia-related topics, such as Don’t Kill Me, Brother! <無毒不丈夫>, The Two Jakes <血洗唐人街>, The Militarism Revival  <怒拔太陽旗>, A Hearty Response <義蓋雲天>, and Flaming Brothers <江湖龍虎鬥>.

At his god-sister, Lydia Shum Din Ha’s memorial service on March 2, 2008, Alan went onstage and publicly demanded Lydia’s ex-husband, Adam Cheng Siu Chau, to come forth and apologize, which stirred a great controversy at the time.

Friends Shocked by Alan Tang’s Sudden Death 

While sleeping last night, Paul Chun Pui received news that his good friend, Alan Tang, had passed away. Paul immediately called his younger brother, John Chiang Dai Wai, to confirm the news. John and his wife, Lee Lam Lam, visited Alan’s family last night. In a radio interview, Paul stated, “Since I suffer from waist pain, John told me to stay home and wait for further updates. That is why I did not go to the Tangs’ house.” Paul expressed sadness in his friend’s sudden death, “I can not believe it. Alan was in good health. He loved to take his dogs for walks and exercise. He loved his family and was very enthusiastic towards his friends, acting like a Big Brother!”

After learning of Alan’s death, lawyer and good friend, Andrew Lam, immediately notified TVB executive, Ho Lai Chuen. Andrew went to Alan’s house to comfort his family. At the time, Alan’s wife, Janet Yen, was crying bitterly by the bed. Alan’s mother was also very sad. Andrew lamented, “It’s very sudden, I never thought that he would leave us so soon! He was righteous towards his friends and filial to his family.” Andrew walked over to Alan’s corpse which lay on the bed and whispered, “Have a good journey!” (好走!) When asked whether Alan’s face was serene when he died, Andrew said, “Yes, he died in his sleep.”


Compiled from the Sun

Jayne: Alan Tang’s death was very sudden and reminds us that life can indeed be very fleeting…. When Alan was young, he was very handsome and possessed a strong leading man look. He was a prolific actor and left a legacy in the Hong Kong film industry.

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  • Readers' Comments (33)

    1. HeTieShou says:

      Even though I didn’t really know much about Alan Tang, may he rest in peace. I didn’t know that he was the one that demanded that Adam come forward to apologize at Lydia’s funeral. I guess my memory is bad now, but what did Adam do again?? I know that they were briefly married and their marriage didn’t end on good terms so Lydia seemed to never truly on good terms with Adam.

      Life is just so fragile, especially when it comes to heart related issues. You can be all healthy and happy one moment and gone the next. Please value everyone and everything you have while you can… RIP Alan Tang!

      • Henry says:

        Adam cheated on Lydia with another woman while Lydia was pregnant with Joyce. He ended up marrying this other woman. I think at the time people found it hard to believe that Adam truly loved Lydia, many think he married her to help his career. She was more famous than him at the time and she helped him further his career. He also was not a good father to Joyce. He rarely visited her when Lydia and Joyce lived in Canada. Go watch Be My Guest with Lydia as the guest. She talks about how she found out that Adam cheated and how he neglected Joyce. It’s all very sad.

        • HeTieShou says:

          Thanks for the info Henry. I actually heard different things… I heard that Lydia was jealous of Adam and one of his co stars and demanded a divorce. However, I was not sure how true that was. I did hear that Adam and Joyce’s relationship was never that good. I actually did not think that Adam ever loved Lydia and maybe he was only using her?? That we shall never know. I guess since I used to talk to some big Adam fans and they all blamed Lydia instead…

        • Funn Lim says:

          Henry was right, partially and I think there are more than meets the eyes.

          He probably married him because she could help him in his career and frankly after the divorce his career in TVB was dead several years until Lydia turned to I believe Buddhism and learned to let go. She was bitter and I suppose she may have demanded a divorce when she found out he was cheating on her. And by the way I believe he is still married to the same woman.

          As for neglect, I believe there is a hidden story. Adam did say everytime he called Joyce was busy with her own life. He can’t be expected to fly to see Joyce everytime since she is in Canada. However I believe when Joyce was big enough she reinitiated contact with Adam and when she moved back she actually became a big sister to her half sibling and something which Lydia spoke with pride. Joyce was mature in the way she handled things and since Lydia learned to let go, she and Adam became rather close. In fact their relationship is that of a father and daughter. Everybody moved on and the fact that lydia could speak about it means she moved on. If I remember correctly when she became sick she told Adam? If true it shows they became friends. Maybe he did marry her to advance his career, but I believe he had a bit of respect for her and was more friends than husband. Lydia did say in the end she was grateful to him? Because he gave her Joyce.

        • Henry says:

          On the Be My Guest episode, Lydia talks about this one time that Joyce really wanted her dad to be there for her. I can’t remember what it was, but I think it was a school performance or something. Lydia called Adam and he said he would try to attend, so Joyce was excited, but when the day came, Adam couldn’t make it. Joyce was devastated. Lydia said she knew that she shouldn’t, but since she had to play the role of father and mother, she spoiled Joyce rotten when she was little. It was her attempt to make Joyce happy, but she knew it wasn’t right. Adam was also on Be My Guest and when the subject of Lydia came up, he was clearly uncomfortable. He claimed they weren’t compatible. She liked to have the AC on all the time and he didn’t, etc. He should have thought about that before cheating on her w/another woman while his wife is pregnant. He just doesn’t strike me as a good person.

        • HeTieShou says:

          Thanks for the info and I feel bad for Joyce then… All this time I kept on hearing all of these good things about Adam Cheng too. Maybe it was because I was talking to his “fans”. Hm.. Now I am wondering if Adam would even be where he is today if he did not marry Lydia. I am also starting to really believe that he was only using her to advance in his career. I find that so sad. But if he did, what goes around comes around…

        • Kidd says:

          @ Henry

          What is AC?

          For a young girl who was supposedly spoiled rotten, I think Joyce came out great. Lydia did a good job raising her daughter.

        • Henry says:

          AC is air conditioner. Too bad, Youtube removed all the Be My Guest episodes, all 3 of them: Adam, Lydia and Joyce were on the show. I forgot what happened, but both Lydia and Joyce said why she stopped being spoiled. Lydia said she would let Joyce eat whatever she wanted and as much as she wanted and then one day, Joyce told her that she didn’t want to be chubby anymore, so she needed help. Joyce cried a lot in that episode. When Stephen Chan asked her if she wanted a better relationship with her dad, she said something like it doesn’t really matter because she’s use to taking care of herself. After watching Lydia and Joyce’s episodes, I had to watch the Adam one to hear his side of the story. I just didn’t find him very truthful. He didn’t really deny the things that Stephen brought up, he made a lot of excuses.

        • HeTieShou says:

          Thanks for all of your info. Well what is done is done so I guess it no use to keep on blaming Adam for everything.At least he did not deny all of the allegations towards him. None of his fans ever mentioned any of this to me. I guess in their eyes he is some sort of hero or something. Or they are so blind and bias that they would forgive him for anything. I am proud of Lydia for being able to raise her daughter so that she did not turn out be a spoiled person. I guess it is nature versus nurture too. Maybe Joyce naturally has a good character so even though she was spoiled, she still turned out to be a good and mature person.

    2. pandamao says:

      What happen between Lydia and Adam doesn’t matter, what matter is – how will they take care of Joyce?

      The story of who was right or wrong in their relationship should not have impacted Joyce and it seems like Joyce did not have a father role, even though he was well alive.

      Alan spoke on this matter at Lydia’s funeral and I applaud him for that. Some may say he did it at a bad time but I question when exactly is a good time.

      Anyway – back to Alan. I loved his movies, Black Panther one with Bridgette Lin was one of my fave! He’s got a great speaking voice as well, projects extremely well.

      R.I.P – sad to see all these artist die so young. Lydia, Anita, Leslie, Roman, Alan Tang …

      • HeTieShou says:

        Actually what happened between them does matter if they have kids. In their case, they had Joyce and if their relationship and ended on such bad terms then it will affect their daughter. It would have made it hard for Joyce to see her father. That could have been the reason why Adam never visited her and Lydia when they were in Canada. But anyways, it is all the past now so we should just let it pass.

        I aldo commend Alan for speaking up for Lydia at her funeral even though it was not the best time to do so. However, doing so showed how much he loved and cared for Lydia. Their bond/friendship must have been really strong and I find that sooo touching..

        • Funn Lim says:

          I disagree. I thought it was not tactful at all what he did. I thought he shouldn’t have brought that up and caused hardship to the grieving daughter. The dead woman has already moved on when she was alive, whatever bad blood between them they have resolved it when she was alive. It was in the memory of her mom, the daughter and to bring up the issue and to judge Adam Cheng in front of thousands is a slap on Joyce’s face as well as Lydia’s. Moreover Adam Cheng no longer owe anything to Lydia. Everybody moved on and I thought Joyce was very classy in the way she replied on behalf of her mother. It was about her mother, not Adam, not Alan, not Joyce. Speaking up for Lydia can be done in private.

          As for not visiting, Adam once said Joyce herself didn’t want to see him because she had other things to do. I believe Lydia was so bitter she did stopped Adam from having a relationship with Joyce until perhaps Joyce herself insisted, and Lydia relented and learned to let go. Yes Adam was a bastard for what he did, but what’s done is done.

        • pandamao says:

          @Funn Lim,

          I understand your reasoning but I still feel differently about the whole situation.

          Alan Tang probably held his frustration for years. When Lydia was alive, I suspect she told Alan to refrain from digging up the past and let it go. However, once she passed away, he expected him to man up and do a few things. Joyce lost her grandmother and mother in the same year and she’s still very young. Not only did Adam not step up to help with the funeral service of a good friend, he didn’t show up to the funeral (per news article I read – I may be wrong with this fact, please verify). At the ceremony, Alan just got fed up and demanded a response. Alan gave Adam an opportunity to speak up and tell him if he got it wrong. Alan used a “triad” tone which seemed inappropriate but I can relate since that’s his true self.

          So in all … if Adam truly treated Lydia as more than a friend, he should have stepped in to help out. Helping out will not equate to loving and not letting go of his past love, but helping out was a way to lighten Joyce’s weight.

        • HeTieShou says:

          If I remember correctly, I heard that Joyce requested for her dad to not show up at her mom’s funeral. I think?? I am not sure… I could have remembered wrong.I think Joyce did not want Adam to be there because Lydia’s side of the family would have spoken up against him so his presence may have caused a commotion.

        • Funn Lim says:

          Yes Joyce asked him not to come for very good reasons; there will be hostility and Joyce was trying to protect her father and understandable. What these people don’t seem to get at that time was Lydia herself moved on. So why do they still harbour feelings of injustice for her when come on! How many decades it has been.

          I am in no way trivialising what Lydia went through and like I said, Adam was a bastard but that was such a long time ago and to dig up old wounds in her funeral was uncalled for. I lost my respect for Alan Tang then, he looked like an old fool and poor Joyce, being put in the middle, not wanting to offend her godparent and not wanting to abandon her father. She was very very classy.

        • pandamao says:

          She handled the situation with grace and you really can’t expect a kid to do any better.

          I guess I’m a loner in still respecting Alan Tang for speaking what many people questioned. I know several of Lydia’s close friends were not on his side, i.e. Eric Tsang voiced his opposition to Alan disrupting the event.

          I hope Joyce is okay too .. She’s lost a lot these few years.

      • Judy says:

        I also see nothing wrong with Alan speaking out at Lydia’s funeral. I believe that funerals are more for the living and not the dead — it allows people to grieve and pay their respects to their loved ones. Alan was very close to Lydia and perhaps part of his grieving process — was to speak out for for his dear friend.

    3. Kidd says:

      The news of his death came as such a shock to me because there was no news of him being sick earlier. So, I’ve always thought of him as still healthy. Most shocking celebrity death to me for these two years.

      R.I.P Mr Tang.

    4. Aly says:

      I don’t know too much about Alan Tang, but definitely very shocking and sad that he left so suddenly. R.I.P.!
      Dying of a heart attack is indeed very sudden and scary. It can come at anytime, even to seemingly very healthy people. Over the past year, I have known at least 3 people, one my parent’s friend, and the other 2 were people that I met through work, that died of a heart attack. The last time I saw them, they all were talking about their families, their retirement outlook, and the next thing I know they are gone all of a sudden. They were all very healthy looking, physically fit, energetic, and did not seem to have any symptoms of being in danger of having a heart attack. If they did, I’m sure they would have tried to do something to prevent it. My dad also suffered a heart attack 3 years ago and thank goodness we rushed him to hospital so he was okay, but that was probably one of the most unforgettable days of my life. The worst part was, we didn’t notice any symptoms prior to the attack. I guess the most important thing is to have a balanced and healthy diet, and to exercise regularly.

      • HeTieShou says:

        Sorry to hear about your father Aly and am glad that he is ok. My uncle had a really serious heart condition a few years ago and had to have heart surgery. He is ok now, but there are times he is ok but at other times he is gasping for air. Heart related problems are unexpected and we can only hope for the best…

    5. Funn Lim says:

      I was shocked when I heard of his death. I have heard rumours of Jackie Chan dead of stroke but it ended up being Alan Tang. So young!

      • Funn Lim says:

        Between, he was such a handsome man in his youth.

        • Kidd says:

          Why lead actors and actresses in the older days seem more good-looking than leads now? Were they more selective then?

          Look at Ti Long and Chin Han. Both also very handsome.

        • Funn Lim says:

          Maybe! Because in the olden days very difficult to be stars unless there;s something special. Like old hollywood. The ugly ones became comediens.

    6. leong says says:

      I saw alot nof alan tang movie. he great actor n oso a producer. regarding the speakup at the lydia funeral, he is doing his part as a god brother. the fact is true, when adam left lydia is expecting joyce. this y he take joyce as god daughter. Alan tang is big brother in hong kong, only he can speak out to let the world knw. anybody dare to speak out !!! more over i think after telling out he feel much better. if not today he have to take this word in to the coffin !

    7. Peaches says:

      I was pretty young when Alan Tang was labelled “The Prince” but I did manage to watch some of his Taiwanese films with Brigitte Lin and Zhen Chen (Patrick Tse Yin’s ex wife). He was really handsome and his acting was good. I have always liked him and thinks that the world have lost another good man. May he rest in peace and lots of condolences to his family and friends.

    8. amanda says:

      Alan Tang was a very kool man, one of the few great gangster movie legend!

      • amanda says:

        ps: such legend lives in his films …Don’t Kill Me, Brother! 無毒不丈夫無毒不丈夫..The Two Jakes 血洗唐人街and so on!!

    9. […] Tang’s untimely passing can be read online at Hong Kong news media site The Standard. An Obituary and additional news can also be found at Celebrity News site, Jayne Stars. Rest in Peace, Mr. […]

    10. Lily says:

      I’ve never known Alan Tang as an actor but I grew up watching Miss Hong Kong and he was a ‘guest’ in 1991. Even in there they called him ‘Big Brother’ so I knew he was well respected. The next time I saw him was in Lydia Shum’s funeral, where he showed his outspoken side. His death is very sudden but it seems he’s lived a good life surrounded by many friends and family. R.I.P.

    11. star says:

      RIP Alan Tang… why are so many artistes dying in their 60s nowadays? :( so sad…

      • Pineapple says:

        I guess it could be stress of the job. Not only do they die in their 60s, some even younger: Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Bruce Lee, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley to name just a few. Terrible and so very sad ….

    12. shariff says:

      oh no….just got the news. guess I’m nit updated. Yah he is one of the those suave charming swordsman. Remember the days when he starred in those period drama. We all have to die one dya but life still goes on….Mt deepest sympathies and condelence to his family……Shariff

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