'Tomorrow's my big day and you're not here,' says Godfrey Gao's friend ahead of his wedding

A makeshift memorial for Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao is seen in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, on Nov 29, 2019.
A makeshift memorial for Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao is seen in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, on Nov 29, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

Godfrey Gao reportedly worked for 17 hours straight while shooting a Chinese variety series in Zhejiang in China.

The Taiwan-born Canadian model-actor, 35, died on Wednesday (Nov 27), after he collapsed while he was running during the shooting of Chase Me, a night-time variety series which focuses on physical tasks for its contestants.

On Friday (Nov 29), he was remembered at the wedding of his friend, James Mao, a former basketball star.

According to Apple Daily, tears flowed at the event in Taiwan where Gao was slated to be a groomsman.

The words "team-mates forever" were embroidered on the bride's train.

On Thursday (Nov 28), Mao, 37, had posted his memories of Gao: "Tomorrow's my big day and you're not here. I don't know how this pain is gonna stop, realising I'm not gonna see you again.

"I wake up sobbing, I'm devastated.

"I never expected you to become my family. I always wanted to be like you.

"When you wore baggy jeans, I wanted you to take me to buy the same pair.

"When you drove a Nissan Cefiro, I got one soon after that."

Meanwhile, netizens have expressed concern over whether safety standards are rigorously enforced in Chinese reality shows and if medical help is readily available.

 
 
 

According to the South China Morning Post, the popularity of these shows also comes with a flip side that celebrity participants must contend with.

An industry source, who declined to be named, said top names are willing to take part, given that the exposure over the duration of the series is valuable.

The reality shows typically attract younger viewers, a demographic that is valued highly by advertisers.

But the action-driven nature of the challenges - sometimes in extreme environments - means that it is no walk in the park for the stars.

In 2018, actor Li Chen, 41, required 22 stitches on his forehead while filming Keep Running.

Even Olympic gold-winning boxer Zou Shiming, 38, admitted that he was tested to the limits while shooting Chase Me.

A death occurred in 2013 when an assistant to actor Shi Xiaolong, 31, drowned during the production of Celebratory Splash.

The source told South China Morning Post that celebrities have other commitments so the work schedules in reality shows are punishing, with night filming hard to avoid.

Gao's agency said he was not known to have any heart ailment but had been suffering from a cold while filming.

Gao's body, which was taken to Hangzhou for embalming, is set to reach Taiwan on Sunday, at the earliest.