Veteran journalist dies at Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 October, 2014, 6:04am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 October, 2014, 6:04am

Tributes have poured in from around the globe after a much-loved member of the Foreign Correspondents Club died suddenly of a suspected heart attack at the Central club on Friday evening.

Club staff found former journalist VG Kulkarni, 77, collapsed in a steam room at about 7pm on Friday.

They immediately called an ambulance, and several doctors who were at the club at the time stepped forward to help, but they could not revive Kulkarni.

Club president Jitendra Joshi said the death came as a shock and that past and present members had sent in dozens of tributes already.

"He was extremely well-known and universally liked," Joshi said.

Close friend and former colleague Viswa Nathan was at the club on Friday afternoon and had seen Kulkarni in the club's workroom just hours before he died.

"It was such a shock; you see a man alive at 5pm and then he is dead at 7pm," he said, adding that Kulkarni had a heart condition and had undergone open heart surgery a few years ago.

Kulkarni originally came to Hong Kong in the 1960s as an officer in the Indian Army before switching careers to journalism.

He became a member of the FCC in 1975 and worked as a reporter for publications including The Hongkong Standard (now called The Standard), Depthnews and the Far Eastern Economic Review, where he was the Singapore correspondent in the 1980s.

"Every club needs someone like VG, a member who is devoted to what the club represents and willing to volunteer his time and energy for its effective running," Joshi said in a statement published on the FCC's website.

"Through his service on five different boards and on numerous club committees, he was a trusted adviser, as well as a friend to many down the years."

Kulkarni is survived by his wife Suzanne, who is a scholar and writer.