Flamboyant Shanghai Tang founder David Tang dies before 'farewell to life' party

Hong Kong - Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, known as the founder of international fashion brand Shanghai Tang, has died at the age of 63, it was announced Wednesday.

"He will be sorely missed as a friend and FT columnist," tweeted Lionel Barber, editor of Britain's Financial Times for which Tang wrote a popular "Agony Uncle" column.

Tang had recently invited friends to the Dorchester Hotel in London, where he founded the China Tang restaurant, for a "farewell party" after doctors told him he had a month or two to live, The Times reported earlier in August.

In the invitation, he said the "best way to go would be to give a party where we can see each other at least one time more, rather than at a memorial service where I shall be dead as a dodo".

Born in Hong Kong and educated in Britain from the age of 13, he was the grandson of well-known philanthropist Tang Shiu-kin.

The Cambridge-educated Tang founded the high-end fashion chain Shanghai Tang in 1994 and later sold it to luxury group Richemont.

He also set up the China Clubs in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore.

His death was mourned on social media by actors and businessmen.

"RIP dear friend Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine," actor Russell Crowe tweeted, describing Tang as "witty, charming, intellectual, salacious, hilarious, loving and funny as f***".

Aside from his fashion label, Tang was known for his love of cigars. He founded the Pacific Cigar Company and was the sole distributor of all Cuban cigars in the Asia-Pacific.

In 2008 he was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire for his charitable services in the UK and to British interests in Hong Kong.

When asked by the Financial Times in 2010 about how he would like to be remembered, he said: "When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read."