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Taiwanese decathlete Ku Chin-shui dies at 56

2016/05/25 19:28

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Ku Chin-shui (古金水), a prominent decathlete in Taiwan in the 1980s and 1990s, died of leukemia in Taipei on Wednesday, his family said.

Ku, who had plasma cell leukemia, died at National Taiwan University Hospital following complications from a stem cell transplant, his family said.

He died surrounded by his family and friends, according to the statement issued by his family via the Hope Cultural and Educational Foundation.

Ku's family is still discussing his funeral arrangements and will let the public know when a decision has been made, the statement said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she was very sad to learn about the passing of Ku, whom she had visited a few days ago.

"He was once the most outstanding athlete in Taiwan,” Tsai said. "His excellent performance dominated track and field in Taiwan and abroad in the 1980s and 1990s, making him the decathlon frontman," Tsai wrote on her Facebook page.

Chi Cheng (紀政), an Olympic medalist and chairwoman of the Hope Cultural and Educational Foundation, thanked the public for their concern and said she was proud of Ku.

"He worked hard and persisted with a will that was stronger than most. I am very proud of him," the renowned track and field athlete wrote on her Facebook page.

Born in 1960, Ku was a member of the indigenous Amis tribe. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, he won many decathlon and pole vault events in Taiwan and abroad.

He won the silver medal in the men's decathlon event at the 1983 Asian Championships in Athletics, and the gold medal in the 1985 championships.

He was also the silver medalist in the men's decathlon event at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

In 1999, Ku was accused of being involved in an explosion that occurred on a Uni Air plane on the ground and he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

After a lengthy appeal, he was found not guilty in the final verdict in 2011.

During that period, however, Ku lost his teaching job and could find only part-time work until 2008, when he again secured a teaching position.

In 2014, Ku was diagnosed with leukemia and had been battling the illness until his death.

(By Christie Chen and Lu Hsin-hui) ENDITEM/pc