SINGAPORE - The sudden death of Taiwanese singer-actor-host Alien Huang has sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry in Taiwan and Singapore.
The 36-year-old was found dead in his Taipei home on Wednesday (Sept 16). The cause of death is currently unknown, though a freak accident is suspected.
He had a strong connection to Singapore as he starred in the Mediacorp drama Joys Of Life (2012) and was the leading man in local actress Michelle Chong's directorial debut Already Famous.
Chong said on Instagram that he will forever be the first leading man in her life.
His Joys Of Life co-star Andie Chen calls Huang his "most accepting friend".
The 35-year-old, who is currently in Taiwan for work, had not managed to meet up with Huang as his quarantine period had just ended last week.
Chen, who is planning to attend the funeral, tells The Straits Times over the telephone: "He always said that Singapore has been very kind to him and gave him a lot of opportunities. He was very well-loved here."
Huang will also be the star of Fat Hope, an upcoming movie directed by Encore Films' founder Joyce Lee.
Lee, 45, says she picked him for the role as he could sing, act and had an aptitude for comedy.
"He's very hardworking, he prepares well for his work and takes care of the people around him. He was a bubbly person who brought a lot of joy on set," she says.
The movie, which was filmed in 2018, is slated to open next Chinese New Year.
Behind the scenes, he was a star with no airs.
Ms Lim Ai Lian, 33, who was previously an assistant promotions manager with Huang's agency and music label Rock Records, used to manage his schedule when he was in Singapore.
She tells ST: "He's an easy-going person. When he's in town for a drama shoot, he would just go for a jog in between shooting or eat his favourite bak chor mee. He would also remember every staff member who had worked with him before and would always say hi."
Having graduated from the performing arts high school Taipei Hwa Kang Arts School - alma mater to many Taiwanese celebrities like singers Cyndi Wang, Tarcy Su and host Dee Hsu - Huang entered the entertainment industry at an early age.
His high school sweetheart was singer Rainie Yang, with whom he remained friends long after their teenage break-up.
In a heartfelt tribute, Yang wrote on Instagram: "I'm not going to pretend like I'm good and okay because there's no way that I am.
"I believe you will still be in my future, in a different way. Thank you for appearing in my life and I'm so glad we showed our love and concern for each other in all the right ways."
Early on Thursday morning (Sep 17), Yang posted an Instagram story with the words: "I can't sleep but if I don't sleep, I can't dream of you."
Huang was rumoured to be dating television personality and cheerleader Wu Han-chun, 30. After his death, Wu posted a black-and-white photo of Huang sleeping and said that they had deliberately kept their relationship under wraps.
She wrote: "Two weeks ago, you said to me: 'Let's not get married.' I asked you why. You said: 'If something happens to me in the future, then you won't have to shoulder that burden. You'll have a clean slate to marry someone else.' But, I only want you."
Huang, who made his entertainment debut in the early 2000s with the short-lived boy bands HC3 and Cosmo, found success in acting and hosting.
He was the host of 100% Entertainment alongside Show Lo and Linda Chien for close to a decade, leaving the show in 2015. Lo and Huang were famously close friends who later drifted apart, reportedly due to comments Huang made about Lo's fans.
Lo wrote on his Instagram story after news of Huang's death broke: "Why did this happen?"
In 2018, Huang began hosting the popular outdoor game show Mr. Player with Jacky Wu and Kid Lin. The show's executives have cancelled its scheduled filming for next week and offered to help Huang's family settle his affairs.