Theresa Po left behind a life in media's gaze

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 12:00am

The socialite will be remembered for her flamboyance and business nous

Hong Kong lost another media favourite when socialite Theresa Po Wing-kam died in the early hours of Sunday morning after a 10-year battle against illness. She was 49.

Po was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 but overcame it after a six-month battle. In 1995, the cancer returned and spread to her lungs. Po recovered after chemotherapy in the United States. She was diagnosed with kidney problems which required her to undergo dialysis treatment last year. She underwent a kidney transplant in Zhuhai in December.

She was admitted to the Kwong Wah Hospital in Kowloon on April 14 with a high fever and had been in intensive care until her death. Her family has not released information on the cause of death.

Po, who was married to tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung from 1977 to 1992, was named Hong Kong's second richest woman in 1998, with an estimated net worth of $400 million. She was a generous benefactor to charities.

Known as a savvy businesswoman, she had helped her ex-husband build up a real estate empire from a small company, Evergo, which exported ceiling fans to North America. She later made her own fortune on the stock market.

She became a media target in 1998 after she admitted to having an affair with former Metro Radio disc jockey, Hung Chiu-fung.

The two had a tempestuous and highly publicised relationship over the following two years. They had an acrimonious break-up that was followed by reconciliation. Po leaves behind a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter.

The city this month mourned entertainer Leslie Cheung, who jumped to his death.