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June 28, 2017

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Entertainer Chu Ke-liang's life as a showman celebrated at funeral

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Friends and family bid farewell Tuesday to entertainer Hsieh Hsin-Ta (謝新達), better known as Chu Ke-liang (豬哥亮), who brought laughter to many with his coarse humor and slapstick comedy during his lifetime.

Around 2,000 fans, friends and entertainers, including Chang Fei (張菲) and actress Amber Kuo (郭采潔), were on hand to pay tribute to the entertainer at his funeral held in Banqiao in New Taipei on Tuesday morning that cost an estimated NT$5 million.

Chu, a show host presenter, singer and actor, died on May 15 of liver failure induced by cancer. He was 70.

His eldest son Hsieh Shun-fu (謝順福) said the funeral was meant to be a festive occasion because his father "wanted everyone to be happy."

A memorial video to depict the life of the entertainer was aired at the start of the service, which opened with his words prefacing his song "A Performance."

The video showed his family members, including Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕), one of Taiwan's top singers and Chu's daughter from his second marriage, and the reconciliation between father and daughter at his hospital bed.

There was also a clip showing several of his children, including Jeannie Hsieh, attending Chu's wedding with his third wife, signaling that family members have finally put their longstanding feud behind them.

There were also blessings from many of his best friends, including celebrity couple Yu Tien (余天) and Lee Ya-ping (李亞萍) and movie director Chu Yen-ping (朱延平).

More than a dozen old songs favored by the entertainer, including "By Tamsui Riverside," were played by a band at the service, which featured white and gold colors.

Despite the celebratory mood, an emotional Hsieh Shun-fu was in tears when he expressed his appreciation to those present and asked: "Daddy, are you happy (to see all your friends here)?"

Hsieh Shun-fu was born of Chu Ke-liang's first marriage. Chu had a total of two sons and three daughters from his three marriages and fathered another daughter with another woman out of wedlock.

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) also played a role in the service, performing a Taoist ceremony of introducing Chu's soul to his ancestors' tablet and blessing his offspring.

Chu Ke-liang was a household name but struggled throughout his life with a gambling addiction. At one point he amassed gambling debts of a reported NT$1 billion that forced him into hiding for 15 years until he resurfaced in 2010.

He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 but rejected treatment so that he could continue to make movies and work on other projects.

Several of his comedy movies were hits, including "David Lomen" (大尾鱸鰻), which had a box office of NT$430 million, the third highest grossing Taiwanese movie after Cape No. 7 (海角七號) and Seediq Bale (賽德克巴萊).

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