• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan's Indigenous star of ‘Seqalu: Formosa 1867’ dies from cancer

Paiwan tribe star of TV series, Camake Valaule, dies from lymphoma at age 42

Camake Valaule as Tokitok in poster for "Seqalu: Formosa 1867." (Public Television Service image)

Camake Valaule as Tokitok in poster for "Seqalu: Formosa 1867." (Public Television Service image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Camake Valaule, a teacher and member of the Paiwan Indigenous tribe, who is appearing as the main character in the new Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS) series, died on Thursday (Aug. 19) from cancer.

Valaule died at 11:05 p.m. on Thursday evening due to complications from lymphoma at the age of 42, reported CNA. He passed away just as he was starting to rise to fame for his role as Tokitok in the new drama "Seqalu: Formosa 1867."

Since 2003, he has taught at Taiwu Elementary School in his native Pingtung County. He dedicated his life to passing on Paiwan culture, handed down to him by his grandparents.

One of his greatest passions was singing and teaching traditional Paiwan ballads. In 2006, his group, Taiwu Ancient Ballads Troupe, was nominated for a Golden Melody Award for the album "Singing a Beautiful Song."

In 2009, Valaule led a group of children on a world tour in which they sang Paiwan folk songs. Their tours included countries such as France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Estonia, Switzerland, Austria, and the U.S.

This month, Valaule was starting to become a household name for his role in "Seqalu: Formosa 1867," as the history-making figure Tokitok. The series is a dramatization of the Rover Incident in 1867.

This was when the U.S. merchant ship Rover was shipwrecked off the coast of Taiwan. The survivors were killed by Indigenous tribesmen, leading to punitive expeditions, a situation that was finally resolved by American diplomat Charles Le Gendre and Tokitok.

Just after the filming of "Seqalu" finished, Valaule was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma, on Aug. 14 last year. While undergoing treatment, his condition appeared to improve over the subsequent months, but on July 2 he suffered a relapse and spent his final days this week with friends and family.