Sir David Tang, philanthropist and fashion industry doyen, dies at age 63

Sir David Tang, the founder and chairman of Pacific Cigar Co., which distributes Habanos S.A. cigars throughout the Asia Pacific region, has died at the age of 63 after an extended battle with liver cancer.

Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, known as the founder of worldwide fashion brand Shanghai Tang, has died at the age of 63, it was announced Wednesday.

“RIP Sir David Tang, businessman, philanthropist, networker supreme”. Earlier this month, Tang announced in his Financial Times column that he would be throwing a “farewell party” in London in September after knowing that he would only live for another “a month of so”.

In the invitation, he said 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”.

Born in Hong Kong to a well-to-do family – his grandfather founded one of the city’s first bus companies – Tang was educated in the United Kingdom and launched Shanghai Tang in 1994, eventually selling it to luxury goods group Richemont in 1998.

In addition to his successful fashion business, which was sold to Richemont in 1998, the businessman founded the China Club restaurant. He mingled with a vast list of the rich and famous including the late Princess Diana, whom he once hosted at the China Club, and supermodel Kate Moss, with whom he was often photographed at parties.

Celebrities and friends have been paying tribute to Tang.

Actor Russell Crowe remembered Tang in a post that read: “RIP dear friend, Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine“.

Aside from his fashion label, Tang was known for his love of cigars.

Tang enjoyed a reputation as the best-connected person in Hong Kong.

Tang, who was awarded a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, was the grandson of Tang Shiu Kin, a well-known philanthropist who founded the Kowloon Motor Bus company.

A year ago he weighed in with his frank views on Hong Kong politics, lashing into the city’s then-leader Leung Chun-ying over his leadership and fretting about the future of his home city under Communist rule.

He also said it was “scandalous” that 15 percent of Hong Kong’s seven million were living under the poverty line and that the government had been “growing apart” from its residents.

Tang is survived by his wife, British-born Lady Lucy Tang, and two children from a previous marriage.

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