Two 'heavenly kings' of Canto-pop among mourners at funeral of Cheung Yiu-wing

Canto-pop 'heavenly kings' join mourners at funeral of Cheung Yiu-wing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 5:27am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 8:57am

Two "heavenly kings" of Canto-pop were among the pallbearers as the music industry brought down the final curtain on the life of "father of concerts" Cheung Yiu-wing.

Instead of the traditional Taoist cymbals and trumpets, the strains of a lone bagpipe played as Cheung's coffin was placed in a hearse at the Universal Funeral Parlour in Hung Hom, before mourners headed to the nearby Hong Kong Coliseum for the funeral rites.

The city's most famous music venue was a fitting scene for the tributes, as Cheung's Yiu Wing Entertainment financed and promoted more than 1,500 concerts there, helping put the stars of Canto-pop on the road to international fame during the industry's 1980s and 1990s heyday.

Among the stars he promoted were the late Anita Mui Yim-fong and Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, as well as the genre's "four heavenly kings" - Jacky Cheung Hok-yau, Aaron Kwok Fu-shing, Andy Lau Tak-wah and Leon Lai Ming.

"He invested money in every one of my shows," said Kwok, who returned from a working trip abroad to act as a pallbearer along with Jacky Cheung and lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, an old mahjong-playing friend of the promoter. "I had to come back, to show that we all care about him deeply."

Kwok said he owed Cheung a lot, and that his influence and contribution to Hong Kong's music industry had been huge. "I will accompany Uncle Yiu-wing all the way to the crematorium."

Cheung fled to the city from the mainland as a child and worked his way up. He starting out working in factories and in construction before becoming a major financier in the booming music industry.

Special permission was granted for Cheung's family to make a circuit inside the Coliseum with his photo.

Instead of the usual funeral offerings of roasted pig and rice wine, bowls of mangoes and glasses of Coca-Cola were placed with the incense stand in front of Cheung's photo, which was framed by white and yellow flowers as mourner paid tribute outside the Coliseum.

The coffin was later taken to the Diamond Hill Crematorium.

Cheung died on March 26. He was 82. He is survived by his wife, two children and grandchildren.