HIS JOIE DE VIVRE WAS INFECTIOUS - AND IT RUBBED OFF ON ME. THAT HAS DEFINED MY PERSONALITY SINCE - TO THAT I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL
Here is a report from the UK Guardian, which does not flatter wealth, so could be relied upon as unbiased and unflattering!
“Sir David Tang, the Hong Kong socialite, businessman and unlikely latter-day champion of the NHS, has died aged 63.
Tang, who divided his time between Hong Kong and London, where he was a feature at A-list parties and known for his spiky column in the Financial Times, had liver cancer.
In one of his final columns for the paper he wrote a moving tribute to the NHS hospital at Hillingdon, west London. Its medical staff helped to prolong his life earlier this month after he was flown by private jet from the French Riviera when he suffered a haemorrhage.
Tang, who mixed with the rich and famous and counted members of the royal family as his friends, wrote of his admiration for the NHS staff and his gratitude at being treated by the NHS rather than a private clinic as planned. “I will howl and hunt down anyone who dares to question the NHS,” he wrote.
He was educated at the exclusive Perse school in Cambridge after being sent from Hong Kong to England at the age of 13 unable to speak English.
“My mother always told me that the UK provided the best education in the world, to which I now add the best hospital care in the world,” he wrote.
He added: “I am glad I have paid my taxes in this country – before with reluctance, but now with alacrity. I hereby demote Asclepius and genuflect to Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS.”
Tang founded the high-end fashion brand Shanghai Tang in 1994 and ran a string of private clubs and restaurants. He was knighted in 2008 for his philanthropic work both in Britain and Hong Kong.
He was a critic of the authorities in his native Hong Kong and expressed fears for the island’s plight under Chinese rule. In a speech last year he accused its leaders of “hugging most of our somnambulant tycoons, and that elephantine Communist party in China”.
The UK consulate in Hong Kong tweeted that he was great friend and partner of the consulate.
He was also major patron to the London Symphony Orchestra. In a statement, it said: “Having entertained the orchestra and our guests at several of his establishments, his zealous attitude to life and generous personality will be fondly remembered.”
Tang had been planning to throw a farewell party next month at the Dorchester hotel in London after learning he only had a few months to live, according to Ewan Venters, chief executive of the luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.
“Personally, I think the world is a little duller for the loss of David and at such a relatively young age,” Venters said.
Tang’s friends included the late Princess Diana, model Kate Moss, with whom he was often photographed at parties, and the Australian actor Russell Crowe.
Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson told the Evening Standard her 30-year friendship with Tang changed her life. “He made castles in the sky for my girls and I, we travelled the world together,” she said.
In a 2007 interview, Tang was asked how he came to know so many notable people. “You mean how did they know me?” he replied.
He is survived by his British-born wife, Lucy, and his two children by a previous marriage.
For anyone interested here are a few more links, the Daily Mail has the most photographs of his numerous friends in high places!
He was always flashy, even at school, where if he came at 13 NOT knowing any English, by 16 he had a posher English accent than even the Royals, who are a little common as far as aristocratic accent goes. His chauffeur used to pick him up in the family Rolls Royce. He was impeccably dressed in those days as well, so his 'joie de vivre' was infectious, and I thought I may one day bump into him, but sadly that never happened, just to recall some old times. He was planning a farewell at the Dorchester on September 6th to meet his friends before he died, but sadly he could not make it to his final date! It is clear he had a full life, and he was able to leverage his wealth and talent in the way he wished.
A legend in his time.