Hospitality industry figures have paid tribute to Hong Kong-born socialite and restaurateur Sir David Tang, who has died aged 63.
Tang, who divided life between London and Hong Kong, was sent to school in England at the age of 13 unable to speak English.
He later founded high-end fashion brand Shanghai Tang in 1994 and ran a number of private clubs and restaurants.
He founded the China Club in Hong Kong, with an Art Deco lounge bar reminiscent of the 1930s, as well as China Clubs in Beijing and Singapore.
He opened China Tang, a Chinese restaurant in the basement of the Dorchester hotel in London in 2005.
Tang was a noted socialite and a friend of the royals and of celebrities, including Kate Moss and Russell Crowe.
He announced earlier this month that he was throwing a ‘farewell to life’ party at the Dorchester after receiving the news that he had only a couple of months to live.
News of Tang’s death was revealed by Ewan Venters, chief executive of Fortnum & Mason. Venters said: “I have recently learnt earlier this evening from Lady Tang, the great man, Sir David Tang, passed this evening. RIP.”
Offering his tribute, Christopher Cowdray, the chief executive of the Dorchester, said: “I am deeply saddened by Sir David Tang’s death and I join with my colleagues at Dorchester Collection in sending our heartfelt condolences to his family at this challenging time.
“I was fortunate to work closely with Sir David in the creation of China Tang at the Dorchester. He was a true bon vivant and his innovative style and charisma will be missed enormously.”
Speaking later to The Daily Telegraph, Venters said the world was “a little duller” after Tang’s passing.
“He was one of life’s unique people who had an extraordinary network of people from all walks of life. He was a very generous, kind-hearted, spirited individual.”
“If there was ever a good example, especially in this current climate of Brexit, that positive immigration is a really good thing in Britain – David Tang embodied that.”
“Somebody that came to these shores without a word of English, who became incredibly successful commercially and socially, and prospered in Britain and across the world,” he said.
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