Shanghai Tang founder dies before his ‘final farewell party’ to say goodbye to friends

The billionaire founder of fashion label Shanghai Tang who recently sent out invitations to his friends for a final farewell party to say goodbye after he was told he had only “a month or two to last” has died aged 63.

Sir David Tang died after a long battle with cancer on Tuesday (Aug 29) night at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea with his wife Lucy at his bedside, reported The Financial Times, where he wrote for a weekly column called Agony Uncle.

Through this column, he also shared his personal experiences with the world, including how the National Health Services (NHS) saved his life, which was published earlier in August.

In the peculiar party invitation sent out to his friends, Tang wrote: “As I have been given by my politburo of medical experts just a month or two to last, I thought the best way to go would be to give a party where we can see each other at least one time more, rather than at a memorial service where I shall be dead as a dodo.”

Sadly, he never got to go out with a bang.

Tang was a flamboyant businessman, socialite and cigar connoisseur, and is the grandson of Tang Shiu Kin, one of Hong Kong’s most famous philanthropists.

Through the years, the Hong Kong-born billionaire forged admirable relationships with foreigners interested in Eastern culture, through shuttling between Hong Kong, London and mainland China.

He was also responsible for the distribution of all Cuban cigars in the Asia Pacific region, the starting up of The China Club brand in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, and the China Tang restaurant at the Dorchester Hotel.

In 2008, he was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire in recognition of his charity work.

Celebrities and notable personalities posted tributes to him online since news of his death was made known.

Actor Russell Crowe posted: “RIP dear friend Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine. Witty, charming, intellectual, salacious, hilarious, loving and funny as f***”

The chief executive of British upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason, Ewan Venters, tweeted: “I have recently learnt earlier this evening from Lady Tang, the great man, Sir David Tang passed away this evening. RIP.”