Ip Man 2 martial artist Darren Shahlavi dies at age 42; Donnie Yen laments his death

LOS ANGELES - Martial artist Darren Shahlavi, who appeared in the movie Ip Man 2 and the television show Mortal Kombat: Legacy, has died, said reports. He was 42.

His agent said he appeared to have died in his sleep at his home and was found by his roommate on Jan 14, according to The Hollywood Reporter. No cause of death was given. TMZ.com, quoting police sources, said Shahlavi appeared to have overdosed on prescription drugs.

Born in Stockport, Cheshire, in England, he was seven when he began practising judo, said E! Online. He relocated, first to Hong Kong in the 1990s, then to the United States, to pursue a career in action cinema.

In Hong Kong, he became a stuntman before martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo Ping discovered him and cast him as a villain in his 1996 movie Tai Chi II, starring Jacky Wu Jing and Christy Chung, said E!.

Shahlavi also had roles in the 2010 Donnie Yen action drama Ip Man 2, the 2004 Robin Williams sci-fi thriller The Final Cut and the 2002 Eddie Murphy adventure comedy I Spy. He appeared in TV shows including Arrow.

His stunt credits include Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), 300 (2006) and Night At The Museum (2006).

Yen lamented Shahlavi on Weibo, said Apple Daily. On the set of Ip Man 2, "in the last scene we shot, my opponent suddenly told me we had met at a martial arts lecture in the UK. He was only 15 then and he said that from that day onwards, he set his heart on being an actor", Yen wrote. "Heaven is jealous of excellence."