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Published: Tuesday January 27, 2009 MYT 12:30:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday January 27, 2009 MYT 8:18:02 PM

Chinese martial arts novelist Liang Yusheng dies

HONG KONG: Liang Yusheng, a pioneer in Chinese martial arts novels, has died, news reports said. He was 85.

Liang died at his home in Sydney, Australia on Jan 22, the Australian edition of the Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported Monday.

Luo Fu, the former editor of the now-defunct Sin Wan Bao newspaper, which hired Liang to write his first kung fu series, was quoted by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao Daily News on Tuesday as saying that Liang had died.

Liang, whose real name was Chen Wuntong, has been in poor health in recent years, diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2004 and suffered a stroke when he visited Hong Kong in 2007, Ming Pao said.

Born to a prominent family in China’s southern Guangxi region on April 5, 1924, Liang was schooled in classical Chinese literature and Chinese history. He studied economics at Lingnan University in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and joined Sin Wan Bao newspaper as an editor after graduation.

His writing career started at Sin Wan Bao, which asked him to pen a kung fu series in 1954, capitalising on a martial arts fever in Hong Kong sparked by a public duel between two rival fighting styles. Liang went on to write 36 novels over a three-decade career before retiring in Sydney.

Liang’s work reflected his knowledge of Chinese literature and history. He often opened his novels with a poem and included characters interested in literature. His plots combined historical events and fiction.

Some of Liang’s novels were adapted for TV and film. Among the more famous movie adaptations were director Tsui Hark’s Seven Swords (2005) and Ronny Yu’s The Bride with White Hair (1993), which were big screen versions of Seven Swords of Mount Heaven and Romance of the White Haired Maiden. -- AP

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