SINGAPORE - Veteran Hong Kong actor Ng Man Tat died in hospital on Saturday (Feb 27), according to media reports. He was 70.
The comedian, who acted with Stephen Chow in movies such as "Fight Back to School" (1991 and 1992), "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 that he died in the late afternoon in Union Hospital in Hong Kong with family members, including his wife, children and siblings, at his side.
"He left us peacefully. Doctors had been prescribing medications to make him feel better. He passed away in his sleep," Tin was quoted as saying in The Standard.
Ng was admitted to hospital on Feb 20 even though news reports earlier said that he had previously sought treatment in Macau.
Tin told the media on Feb 21 that his friend called him after surgery and said "the worst is over". Other friends who visited Ng in hospital also said that he was fine.
There were no reports on why his condition deteriorated.
Ng started his career in 1973, at the age of 22. In 1991, he was awarded Hong Kong Film Award's Best Supporting Actor for his role in "A Moment of Romance", featuring Andy Lau.
Ng has also been nominated for a number of other awards, including Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards.
Ng was once well-known as Chow's sidekick although they have not collaborated since "Shaolin Soccer" in 2001. But the actor denied that there had been a falling out between them and did not rule out working with Chow again.
Ng had been struggling with deteriorating 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 earlier this month on Chinese reality show Trump Card, saying that he had felt like he was dying.
But when asked by the show's host about collaborating with Chow again in the future, Ng said: "As long as I'm still alive, and he has not retired, there would be an opportunity."
In remembering his friend, Chow said that 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," said Chow.
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”.