Veteran local actor Tang Hu dies at 84
Veteran actor Tang Hu, a familiar face on Singapore television who starred in series such as Son Of Pulau Tekong (1985), Five Foot Way (1987) and Painted Faces (1987), died in hospital on Wednesday at the age of 84.
In a telephone call with The Straits Times, the actor’s daughter, Ms Jes Tang, says the death was sudden.
Tang Hu, who had long struggled with diabetes, was hospitalised on the night of Nov 8 due to inflammation on one of his left toes. His right leg was amputated below the knee in 2021 due to diabetes.
He had seemed stable throughout his hospital stay and even called Ms Tang in the early hours of Wednesday to express his desire to return home.
But around 10am the same day, he sank into a coma after a cardiac arrest. By the time Ms Tang arrived at the hospital, her father had died, coincidentally on his own lunar calendar birthday.
“He seemed very peaceful when he passed,” she says.
Tang, whose granddaughter is pregnant with her first child, missed becoming a great-grandfather by just a few months. He is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren.
His wake will be held at Block 129 Marsiling Rise from Thursday to Sunday. Tang, who was due to be baptised next week, will be given a Christian service.
Ms Tang says: “My father really loved performing and he knew many people in the entertainment industry. He did share with me before he passed that he loves being with people, so he’d really love for all his friends and fans to visit him and send him off.”
Friends say Tang, despite his advanced age and mobility issues later in life, was a lively man who loved being around people.
Fellow actor Duan Weiming, who also had to amputate his left leg below the knee in 2022, bonded with Tang due to their shared experiences of losing a limb.
The two met at a gathering of senior television artistes in late October to celebrate veteran Chinese-language journalist Guan Xuemei’s birthday.
“We were seated at the same table and we spent the whole night goofing off with each other,” the 62-year-old recalls.
He adds: “He seemed to be in good spirits and was chatting and joking with us. When we left, he waved goodbye to us. That turned out to be his final goodbye.”
Duan says Tang was someone easy-going and loyal. He adds: “He’s my big brother and I have a lot of respect for him. After my amputation, he sent me a message to encourage me. It might not seem like much, but it was a great deal of comfort to me at the time.”
Actress Chen Xiuhuan was shocked to receive the news of Tang’s death. The pair had met at a gathering of television artistes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in September.
“He was quite sprightly then and seemed to be in a good mood,” she says.
Chen, who played Tang’s daughter in the 1993 period series The Witty Advisor, calls him “die die” (daddy in Mandarin) in real life. The pair lost touch for many years, but began keeping in contact once more after they bumped into each other while on holiday in Johor Bahru several years ago.
On working with him, she says: “He was a senior in the industry, but he was very kind to his juniors. He was very easy to be around and not intimidating at all. He had a moustache in The Witty Advisor, which I would always pull on as a joke, and he always played along with it.”