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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

David Tang, socialite, friend to the stars and founder of the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, dies aged 63

The Hong Kong-born business man, best known for his Agony Uncle column for the Financial Times, loses fight with cancer

Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang has died. He was 63. AP
Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang has died. He was 63. AP

Sir David Tang, the colourful socialite, businessman and founder of the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has passed away at the age of 63, after a long battle with cancer.

Perhaps best known for Agony Uncle, the tongue-in-cheek advice column that the wrote for the Financial Times, the Hong Kong-born businessman famously arrived in the United Kingdom at the age of 13, barely able to speak a word of English. He went on to acquire a degree in philosophy.

He launched the Shanghai Tang luxury brand in 1994, pioneering Chinese fashion motifs on a global stage. The brand was sold to the Richemont luxury good group in 1998. He also opened the exclusive members-only China Club in 1991 in Hong Kong's financial district, expanding the concept to Beijing and Singapore, and went on to launch the China Tang restaurant in The Dorchester in London.

He was knighted in 2008 for his charitable work in both Britain and Hong Kong.

The socialite was used to brushing shoulders with the rich, famous and royal, and counted Kate Moss and Russel Crowe among his friends. Actor Russell Crowe called the businessman "witty, charming, intellectual, salacious, hilarious, loving" in a tweet on Wednesday, saying: "RIP dear friend Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine."

In his customary flamboyant style, Tang had been planning to hold a “farewell to life” party at The Dorchester on September 6.

"Personally, I think the world is a little duller for the loss of David and at such a relatively young age," says Ewan Venters, chief executive of luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.

Tang is survived by his wife, British-born Lady Lucy Tang, and two children from a previous marriage.

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