It is the passing of another legend: John Cheng, more affectionately known as Ah Nan, passed away last night, apparently due to a heart attack.
According to the Straits Times, his wife said John collapsed backstage after a nightclub gig in Chinatown. Ah Nan was a prominent figure in the entertainment scene, debuting in the 1998 box office hit Money No Enough, directed by stalwart Jack Neo.
He also was known for his gangster role in Liang Po Po: The Movie. His gangster roles were given to him because John used to be one before joining showbiz. His most recent movie performance was in the 2011 flick The Ghosts Must Be Crazy.
In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, close friend and fellow actor Mark Lee described John as a performer who “brought laughter and happiness to the audience”. Despite a much-publicised run-in with the media in 2010 when he harangued journalists for probing into Jack Neo’s extramarital affair, Mark said “he has a kind heart” and would often help the elderly.
Jack Neo tweeted in Chinese on Tuesday morning: “My old friend Ah Nan has gone.”
John was confirmed to be in a concert for Chinese New Year on February 12. John has a new film, Judgement Day, where he works with Mark Lee in it as well. He is a permanent fixture in the getai scene. He leaves behind his wife and three daughters.
Popspoken mourns the passing of a legend who shot his way into the hearts of viewers with his entertaining brand of humor and his heartfelt, humble ways. We offer our sincerest condolences to his friends and family.