Mortal Instruments Actor Dies While Filming Reality Show, Sparking Protests

Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie
(Image credit: Screen Gems)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones star Godfrey Gao died Wednesday after he collapsed while filming a Chinese reality show. He was 35. Gao died from sudden cardiac arrest while taping the Zhejiang Television show Chase Me, and now fans are protesting the show in response to the actor's death.

According to CNN, the Chinese reality show Chase Me pits celebrities against regular contestants in a variety of physical challenges. As NBC News noted, fans took to China's Weibo social media platform to complain that the show was too difficult for contestants. "What happened to Godfrey Gao" and "Chase Me" became top trending searches. Gao reportedly had a cold on Wednesday but still worked a 17-hour day from Tuesday 8:30 a.m. until he collapsed running at almost 2 a.m. on Wednesday. He reportedly shouted "I can't go on" before he fell.

Many Weibo users argued stars getting injured on Zhejiang TV programs is a problem every year. As 8 Days noted, some fans are calling for a boycott in protest of the "unreasonable" demands made on stars like those for Chase Me.

Godfrey Gao was born in Taiwan and raised mostly in Canada. A model as well as an actor, he was first Asian model to appear in a campaign for Louis Vuitton. He played Magnus Bane in the 2013 movie The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on the first book of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. played the same character of Magnus Bane on the TV show Shadowhunters, which just ended after three seasons. He took to Twitter to pay tribute to Godfrey Gao:

The producers of Chase Me said Godfrey Gao "suddenly fell down to the ground while running, medical staff treated him on the spot, he was then rushed to hospital for treatment." The producers' statement added, "We feel extremely distressed and extremely sad," and producers were in touch with his family "to properly handle the aftermath."

Godfrey Gao's agency, JetStar Entertainment, confirmed he was rushed to the hospital after his collapse and died about three hours later. The company shared a message (via CNN) saying they were "shocked and saddened" by the incident and reps were "always directly by his side, whilst his family is rushing to the scene." While friends were thanked for supporting Gao, the company asked for his family to be allowed to mourn in private.

According to NBC News, Godfrey Gao was meant to be a groomsman this Friday at the wedding of former Taiwanese basketball star James Mao.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.