Local actor ‘Ah Nan’ dies at age 52
Local actor and veteran getai performer John Cheng – better know as Ah Nan or Zhong Yao Nan – died of a heart attack after performing at a night club on Monday night.
His unexpected death shocked the entertainment industry, friends and family.
According to local news reports , the 52-year-old was performing at Club Cleopatra at Parklane Shopping Centre when he experienced discomfort in the chest at about 10pm. He felt fine after taking a short rest backstage and returned to perform. However, the pain returned again at around midnight and he suddenly collapsed backstage after performing his last song.
An ambulance arrived soon after and Ah Nan was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than two hours later.
The local entertainer leaves behind a wife and three daughters aged 17 to 21 from his second marriage, and another 28-year-old daughter from his previous marriage.
His wife, Mdm Leong Yoke Ching told reporters that her husband was on medication for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. She added that Ah Nan’s chest pains had been going on for some time, but it would usually disappear within a short while, so they thought it would be all right.
In an interview with the media at her husband’s wake, Mdm Leong shared that she will “bring up my daughters well” because that would be what her deceased husband “wanted”.
Fellow comedian Mark Lee, who has worked with Ah Nan in umpteen local productions, expressed sadness at his friend’s passing and said that he will help the family in “whatever means possible”.
Best known for his roles in local director Jack Neo’s Money No Enough (1998), I Do, I Do (2005), and The Ghosts Must Be Crazy (2011), Ah Nan was reportedly a gang member and loan shark runner before entering showbiz and becoming a getai performer. Said to be a person with a sweet tooth who reportedly drank 10 cans of soft drinks a day, Ah Nan suffered from health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Photo of Ah Nan at the press conference of the movie 'The Ghost Must Be Crazy'