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Taiwanese singing king Kuo Ching-fa dies

2016/10/08 22:37:32

CNA file photo

Kaohsiung, Oct. 8 (CNA) Kuo Ching-fa (郭金發), whose signature Taiwanese-language song "Hot Rice Dumpling" (燒肉粽) has been popular for more than half a century, died of a heart attack on Saturday. He was 72.

Kuo, dubbed the "singing king of Formosa," was performing at an event to honor senior citizens supported by Fengshan District Office in Kaohsiung when he suddenly passed out on stage. He was rushed to the hospital, but doctors failed to resuscitate him.

Kuo showed his talent at the young age of 15 when he took part in a singing contest. He released his first album at 17, and put out more than 100 albums during his lifetime.

His most memorable song was the Taiwanese language hit "Hot Rice Dumpling," which first came out in 1949, four years after the end of World War II.

The song, originally titled "Selling Rice Dumplings"(賣肉粽), depicted the hard life of the people during the time, and was at one point banned by Taiwanese authorities.

But the song's popularity never faded, and it even became the theme song for Taiwan's baseball team at the Asian Games in Doha in 2006.

Perhaps boosted by the song, Taiwan won its first ever baseball gold medal at the Asian Games that year.

Other Kuo songs such as "The Guitar of the township of hot spring" (溫柔郷的吉他) and "Chains of Fate" (命運的鎖鏈) also became entrenched in Taiwan's popular culture.

He was the first popular singer to perform at the National Concert Hall, and he never strayed far from the stage to the very last moments of his life.

(By Lilian Wu)