Taiwanese comedian Chu Ke-liang dead at age 70

Chu Ke-liang lost his struggle with cancer on Monday morning, his doctor said

Comedian Chu Ke-liang dead at age 70. (By Central News Agency)

Photos from Chu Ke-liang's long career in showbiz. (By Central News Agency)

Photos from Chu Ke-liang's long career in showbiz. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The famous Taiwanese comedian Hsieh Hsin-Ta (謝新達), better known by his stage name Chu Ko-liang (豬哥亮), who has been entertaining Taiwanese for decades since the 1980s, lost his battle with cancer early Monday morning at National Taiwan University (NTUH) in Taipei after suffering liver failure, according to his doctor. 

The 70-year-old actor and comedian, known for his trademark bowl haircut, had been battling colon cancer for three years, but had recently seemed to be on the mend. However, it has been revealed that he was readmitted to National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital two months ago, and over the past two weeks his condition had worsened as the cancer spread to the liver.

The cancer had started to impair his liver function leading to jaundice and extreme fatigue and he was only able to stay awake for 4 hours a day. 

At his side was his daughter, the singer Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕), 42, with whom he had recently mended ties with after a long-running feud. Chu reportedly abandoned Hsieh after both she and her sister suffered severe injuries in a near-fatal car accident, and Hsieh severed ties completely with her father after he had gone into hiding in the mid 90s to avoid a reported NT$1 billion (US$33 million) gambling debts. 

He resurfaced 15 years later in April 2010 and his career experience a revival with many spots on TV, movies, and commercials featuring his trademark acerbic wit. 

Chu had been diagnosed as having stage II colon cancer in May, 2014, but he refused to have surgery because he knew after the treatment he would need a colostomy bag and he feared it would hamper his work. So he opted for receiving Chinese medicine treatment while he was busy with his TV and acting work.

However, he fell very ill and decided to have surgery to treat his colon cancer at the National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital on September 6. The operation was announced a success.

On Oct. 11, Chu held a press conference to thank Dr. Liang Jin-tung and his team for treating him and saving his life in September. 

Speaking at the press conference, Liang, who is the chief of division of colorectal surgery at the NTU hospital, said that had Chu been left untreated, he could only live for four months as he had 6,600cc. of abnormal accumulation of fluid in his abdomen and his liver might be seriously damaged.

Liang told the press conference that Chu had recovered well from the surgery and he gave Chu a “one-year guarantee." Sadly, he fell four months short of the one year mark.