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Prolific Hong Kong actor Kenneth Tsang dies at 87 while in COVID-19 quarantine

A man in a tuxedo standing behind a lectern and pointing up to the sky
Kenneth Tsang, left, wins supporting actor at the 2015 Hong Kong Film Awards.
(Vincent Yu / Associated Press)
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Prolific Hong Kong actor Kenneth Tsang was pronounced dead Wednesday after he was found unconscious while quarantined at a hotel in Hong Kong, his talent manager confirmed to the Los Angeles Times. He was 87.

According to the South China Morning Post, Tsang was adhering to standard COVID-19 protocol by isolating after returning to Hong Kong from Singapore on Monday. Variety reported that Tsang took a rapid test on Tuesday that came back negative for COVID-19.

In March, Hong Kong reduced its quarantine period for travelers from 14 days to a week, provided they are fully vaccinated and have tested negative for the coronavirus before entering the city.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news and will miss his laughter and his friendship,” Tsang’s manager, Andrew Ooi, said in a statement.

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“He was a pioneer and a legend of his time in the golden age of Hong Kong cinema, who broke boundaries with his fearless performances not only there but in Hollywood too. His legacy will live on in the movies he’s made and my heart goes out to his family in this difficult time.”

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the city will lift flight bans on nine countries, including Britain and the U.S., starting April 1.

March 21, 2022

In addition to memorable roles in Hong Kong films such as “A Better Tomorrow” (1986) and “The Killer” (1989), Tsang was known for his work in Hollywood movies such as “Rush Hour 2” (2001) and the James Bond movie “Die Another Day” (2002).

The award-winning performer made his Hollywood debut in 1998’s “The Replacement Killers,” directed by Antoine Fuqua. The action flick starred Tsang as Terence Wei, a crime boss seeking to avenge his son’s death.

For his turn as Tony Wong in the crime thriller “Overheard 3,” Tsang won the Hong Kong Film Award for supporting actor in 2015. He was nominated for the same prize at the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards for his performance in “Overheard 2” — which won him the supporting actor trophy at the 2012 China Film Media Awards.

The decision to test all 7 million residents comes as Hong Kong grapples with its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date, driven by the Omicron variant.

Feb. 22, 2022

Before he became a movie star, Tsang graduated with a degree in architecture from UC Berkeley, according to the South China Morning Post. He also appeared in dozens of TV series, including “The Greed of Man,” starring Tsang as Lung family patriarch Sing-bong.

Tsang is survived by his wife of 28 years, Taiwanese film actor Chiao Chiao.

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