Muscleman Gan leaves behind a heroic legacy

MELAKA: Illustrious muscleman Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong has passed away, leaving a legacy of compassion and respect for others.

According to Datuk Wira Gan Tian Loo, his father had imparted noble values and stressed the importance of assisting the needy and less fortunate.

“My father is a strong advocate of kindness and always reaches out to the people.

“True to his reputation, he put up a strong fight until his last breath.

“His legacy will be etched in our minds forever,” Tian Loo said.

Boon Leong, popularly known as “Mr Strong”, was Malaysia’s “father of bodybuilding” and former state MCA chief.

He died at 1.30am yesterday at age 85 due to heart complications.

Farewell to a strongman: Metal sculpture of Mr Asia 1956 Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong (below).Farewell to a strongman: Metal sculpture of Mr Asia 1956 Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong (below).

Tian Loo said his father had been receiving treatment at a hospital but was discharged on Sunday afternoon and taken to a care centre.

“His condition suddenly turned critical before he breathed his last in the wee hours of the morning.

“His remains have been taken to his office in Jonker Street for the locals to pay their last respects,” he said, adding that the burial ceremony would be held in Bekok.

Boon Leong was a well-known bodybuilder since 1956.

He was elected the president of the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation, vice-president of the Asian Bodybuilding Federation, and vice-president of the Asian Powerlifting Federation.

He also won the “Mr Asia” title in 1956 and was awarded the honorary “Mr Universe” title in 2000.

Boon Leong organised the Asian Bodybuilding Tournament in 1987, 1993 and 1994, Male Bodybuilding Championship in 1990 and Commonwealth Bodybuilding Tournament in 1998.

He was also active in boxing and taekwondo associations, especially in Melaka.

Born on Aug 25, 1937, he leaves behind his wife Datin Wira Chong Kin Yock and seven children.

On the political front, he was the first MCA executive councillor who put much effort into assisting local hawkers in generating income by proposing the Jonker Walk night market concept in 2000.

During the 1982 general election, he defeated DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang for the Bandar Hilir state seat, earning him the moniker “Giant Killer”.

He polled 6,447 votes against Lim’s 3,384 votes then.

Boon Leong retired from politics in 1999.

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