Business / Billionaires

Shanghai Tang founder David Tang dies at 63

After learning that he had only a couple of months to live, the Hong Kong businessman gathered his circle of influential friends at London’s Dorchester Hotel to bid them farewell.

Aug 31, 2017 | By Pameyla Cambe

A Chinese luxury fashion brand, a cigar company, a restaurant chain and a prestigious private members’ establishment. These are just some of the many legacies left behind by renowned Hong Kong entrepreneur David Tang, who has died at age 63 after battling with cancer and several other health problems.

Tang was best known as the founder of Shanghai Tang, a high-end international fashion chain often credited for defining the modern Chinese luxury aesthetic. Hailing from Hong Kong, England became Tang’s home at the age of 13. It was there that he received a first-class education in Cambridge and later pursued studies in philosophy and law at King’s College London, before launching Shanghai Tang in 1994.

During his lifetime, the 63-year-old billionaire wore several hats. Like his grandfather Tang Shiu-kin, Tang was also a well-known philanthropist, raising funds for a diverse range of charities and even founding the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. As a businessman, Tang’s flair was unmatched: besides Shanghai Tang, Tang was also the owner of the Hong Kong private members concept China Club, Dorchester Hotel’s China Tang and the Pacific Cigar Company.

In 2008, Tang was titled the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen for his philanthropy. His most recent venture was as a writer for an advice column in The Financial Times.

Naturally, Tang led a rather glamorous lifestyle that saw him mingling with celebrities and prominent royal members alike. The businessman maintained close ties with a wide circle of friends, which included Nelson Mandela, the Beatles, model Kate Moss, footballer David Beckham and the Queen herself.

Those are just some of the names that might have been on the guest list for the private “farewell party” recently thrown by the socialite, after he learned from his doctors that he had only a month or two to live. As stated in the invitation, Tang decided that gathering his friends together at the Dorchester Hotel in London would be the “best way to go”, as they could “see each other at least one more time, rather than at a memorial service where I shall be dead as a dodo.”

Upon hearing the tragic news, actors and businessmen alike have taken to social media to mourn the death of their beloved friend. Actor Russell Crowe tweeted a particularly heartfelt note, saying, “RIP dear friend, Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine. Witty, charming, intellectual, salacious, hilarious, loving and funny as f***.”

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