We never truly know how much someone has affected our lives until they are gone.
Veteran Hong Kong actor Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智) passed away due to stomach cancer on 28th March. The actor, known for his award-winning roles in “Cageman” and “The Witness” died at age 66.
Liu, or affectionately known as Uncle Chi, stopped work last December after being diagnosed with cancer. However, after months of battling it, Liu passed away at the Prince of Wales Hospital, in Sha Tin, at 8:32pm. His management company, L&P Entertainment Limited released a statement shortly after his passing. In it, the agency said Liu’s family thanked the hospital staff for taking care of him for the past few months. They also thanked the public and media for their concern and well wishes. The family had apparently been by Liu’s side when he “returned to the arms of his heavenly Father“.
He leaves behind his wife, former TVB leading actress Barbara Chan Man Yee (60), and two sons aged 22 and 26. Liu is not the only one in his family who fought cancer. His youngest son, Man-nok died in 2006 at the age of five after being diagnosed with leukemia three years prior. Liu missed him dearly and even dedicated his second Best Supporting Actor win to Man-nok.
No one expected the 66-year-old actor to pass suddenly. Chow Yun Fat’s wife cried when she heard the news and said she would only tell her husband about it the next morning. “My husband is asleep. If I wake him now, he will not be able to return to his slumber.” She shared that the couple thought Liu would pull through and were cheering him on. “We didn’t expect it to be so sudden,” she said. “It’s really sad.” Previously, Chow and Liu would go on hikes as a way to help Liu deal with his insomnia. “Uncle Chi is a good husband, and my husband appreciates him very much,” she stated.
Actress Nina Paw Hee Ching (鲍起静) and her husband were similarly torn by the news. Paw revealed they became friends when they were younger. “He has helped develop and made many achievements in the film industry,” she recalled. “Everyone can see that he is a very good person.” The duo have also gone running together. When Liu celebrated his birthday on 7th April, Paw and her husband sent a video and drawings to cheer him up. “I thought he would heal,” the actress confessed, while in tears. “I hoped to see him and run together again, but unfortunately, there is no chance.“
Artist Mimi Lo Man Chong or Luo Min Zhuang (罗敏庄) received the news after performing at a concert. She cried on the spot. “It was very sad and very sudden,” she said. “There have been too many things happening recently.” Lo recalled working with Liu on several TV shows and praised him for always being willing to teach his juniors. Her favourite memory of him was when he attended her wedding. Although he didn’t like attending lively activities due to his quiet nature, he stayed till the end of the night for her.
His fellow TVB coworkers, Simon Yam (Ren Dahua/任達華) and Matthew Ho Guang Pei (何廣沛) both mourned the hole Liu left behind in the film industry and academia. Yam said Liu was able to shape the vitality of each role he played while Ho recalled the devotion Liu had for his role when the two worked together. “Thank you for the scene back then,” Ho said. “That scene will always be in my mind. You will always be my most respected KC (Liu’s character in the drama “Law dis-Order”).”
Many other actors and artists stepped forward on social media to say goodbye to the veteran actor. They praised his acting skills and his character, and wished him well on his next journey.
As Nina Paw succinctly said, “We should cherish those around us.” After all, only God knows when they will depart this world for the next.