Taiwanese opera performer Hsiao Feng Hsien dies at 79

Taipei, Taiwanese opera star Hsiao Feng Hsien (???), who was renowned for her performances in the Chou -- or clown role -- in Yang Li-hua's (???) theater troupe, died Tuesday at the age of 79, the troupe has announced.

Born as Chen Li-ju (???) in 1941, Hsiao Feng Hsien began studying theater with her parents' support at the age of 14.

She rose to prominence in Yang's troupe during the 1960s, performing frequently on television and serving as a mentor to a generation of Taiwanese opera luminaries, including Yeh Li-na (???) and Chi Li-ju (???).

In recent years, Hsiao Feng Hsien suffered from diabetes and other ailments, which caused her to limit her appearances in public, though she often entertained her former colleagues at home, sources close to the actress said.

According to the Taiwanese opera performer Chen Ya-lan (???), Yang and other members of the troupe had planned to visit Hsiao Feng Hsien in the hospital following the broadcast of The Timeless Virtues (????) -- the ensemble's latest production, which aired late last year.

However, they were prevented from visiting her due to hospital visitation restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Chen said, adding that Yang had been particularly anguished about being unable to see her friend a final time.

Yang, for her part, mourned Hsiao Feng Hsien in a brief Facebook post Tuesday, writing "Sister: rest in peace."

Her theater troupe, which announced the news on behalf of Hsiao Feng Hsien's family, said the performer's fans could take comfort in knowing that she had passed away peacefully, surrounded by family.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel