Dying socialite promises lots of hugs at 'farewell party'

Top News | Riley Chan 18 Aug 2017

Entrepreneur and socialite David Tang has invited his friends to the Dorchester hotel in England for a "farewell party," saying he wants to see them for the last time before he dies.

Tang's unusual invitation to friends reads: "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 more time, rather than at a memorial service where I shall be dead as a dodo."

The British knight - who has been fighting cancer and other health problems in recent years - promised "jolly merriment" and "a lot of embraces" in the "living funeral," according to The Times newspaper.

It is believed his party is set for next month.

The 63-year-old billionaire is the grandson of Tang Shiu-kin, one of Hong Kong's greatest entrepreneurs. He moved to England at age 13 and studied at Perse School in Cambridge, followed by an education in philosophy and law at King's College London.

From 1983 to 1984, Tang stayed in Beijing to teach philosophy and English at Peking University.

He is the founder of fashion label Shanghai Tang, Hong Kong hotspot the China Club, Dorchester's China Tang, Pacific Cigar Co and Tang Tang Tang Tang - a lifestyle concept store selling branded products.

He has also served as director and adviser to Blackstone, Tommy Hilfiger, the Savoy Group and British Airways.

Tang's philanthropy is extensive. The billionaire has been raising large amounts of money for a diverse range of charities, from the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, which he founded, to China Tiger Revival, for which he held a charity dinner last year with comedian Stephen Fry.

Tang has made a point of hiring disabled people to work in his office, and China Club is manned by elderly workers.

Tang was promoted by the Queen from the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2008 New Year Honors.

He has also been honored by France as Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1995, and is the Honorary Consul of Cuba in Hong Kong. In 2014, Tang received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Art and Design at the Asian Awards.

Tang is most famous for his glamorous lifestyle and his connections with celebrities and prominent royal members.

His friends' list includes the Queen, Nelson Mandela, the Beatles, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Kevin Spacey and the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. Footballer David Beckham attended a banquet arranged by Tang during his five- hour visit to Hong Kong last year.

riley.chan@singtaonewscorp.com

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