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Chí Tài, Beloved Comedian and Talented Musician, Passes Away at 62

One half of the iconic comic duo Chí Tài-Hoài Linh has left us today.

Khánh Hoàng, the former manager of comedian Chí Tài, confirmed with Tuoi Tre that Tài passed away this afternoon, December 9, at around 3pm after suffering from a stroke at home. According to the newspaper, he was found unconscious in his apartment building’s staircase and rushed to the hospital.

As news of Chí Tài’s passing made the rounds on social media, it inspired an outpouring of grief among fans. “Since I was little, I’ve dreamed of one day moving to Saigon to live and study and watch your play at the Nu Cuoi Moi Theater,” Hoàng Minh, a netizen and fan, wrote in a comment to Zing. “But then the theater was disbanded, I couldn’t attend your latest shows. May you rest in peace.”

Born in 1958, Nguyễn Chí Tài is one of Vietnam’s most popular artists across several fields, including singing, music production and, most notably, comedy. While young Vietnamese know him mainly as a sterling comedian, not many know that Tài had his start in music as a guitar player. In 1981, Chí Tài moved to the US from Saigon. Along with his siblings and contemporaries, he formed the band Chi Tai’s Brothers, acting as the group’s guitarist and backup vocalist.

The band gained popularity among the Vietnamese diaspora after performing at a number of Paris by Night concerts by Thuy Nga Productions. In 1997, he dabbled in comedy after being convinced by fellow performer Hoài Linh as there was a lack of good comedy actors at the time. Little did he know that the duo would go on to become one of the most iconic comedy acts during the decades after, even until today.

Eventually, Chí Tài resettled in Saigon for his career, undertaking roles as a TV host, game show judge, actor, and of course, a comedian. He shared his time between the US and Saigon. Back in March, his personal account of a two-week period spent in centralized quarantine after returning to Saigon from abroad attracted attention online.

[Photo via Bao Quang Ninh]

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