Taipei, May 15 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed condolences Monday to the family of entertainer Hsieh Hsin-ta (謝新達), better known as Chu Ke-liang (豬哥亮), who died of liver failure earlier in the day at the age of 70.
In a Facebook post, Tsai said Chu lived a legendary life, which was like a drama, and his brand of humor will be remembered by the Taiwanese people.
"Today Taiwan lost an adept comedian," Tsai said, expressing sorrow at his passing and condolences to his family.
Chu, 70, one of the most popular comedians in Taiwan, died of liver failure at around 5 a.m. Monday at National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) in Taipei, according to his doctor Liang Chin-tung (梁金銅).
"A father has gone, without pain caused by diseases or any unfinished wish, to a different place to perform for his audience and movie and TV fans," Tsai wrote, quoting the words of the comedian's daughter, pop singer Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕).
"We wish Chu big success in his first show in heaven," the president wrote.
Chu was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 but waited until last September to have the surgery that his doctors had advised. At the time, the comedian, who had a lifelong struggle with gambling debts, said he wanted to continue his participation in a film production.
Known for his bowl haircut and slapstick humor, Chu had a following not just in Taiwan but also in China where there was an outpouring of sympathy from people on social media.
On the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, people also said they liked Chu's shows and the laughter he brought them.
Chu is survived by his wife and five children from different marriages.