Jin Yong, China's most celebrated martial arts novelist and essayist, passed away in Hong Kong's Sanatorium and Hospital at 94 after a long illness, local media reported on Tuesday.
Jin Yong is the pen name of Louis Cha. Born in Haining, east China's Zhejiang Province in 1924, he pursued undergraduate studies in Chongqing and Shanghai, and joined the newspaper Ta Kung Pao as a journalist and translator in Shanghai in 1946.
He relocated to Ta Kung Pao's Hong Kong office in 1948 and served as deputy editor of the then-New Evening Post, a newly-founded subsidiary of Ta Kung Pao in 1950.
In 1955, he began writing his first martial arts novel, “The Book and the Sword,” under the influence of friend Chen Wentong, another martial arts novelist best known as Liang Yusheng.
In 1959, Jin Yong co-founded the Chinese-language Hong Kong daily newspaper Ming Pao and served as its first editor-in-chief.
Between 1955 to 1972, Jin Yong wrote 15 works, including "The Legend of the Condor Heroes," "The Return of the Condor Heroes," and "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber," most of which were published initially in installments in Hong Kong newspapers, and then in book editions.
Set in the ancient Chinese world of Jianghu, his stories feature intriguing plots and complex character relationships with a human-centered focus on honor and chivalry.
His works enjoyed wide popularity in Chinese communities worldwide by selling over 300 million copies, and have been translated into many languages including English, French, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai.
All of his novels have been adapted into films, TV shows, comics, and video games.
Among Jin Yong's fans, Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997), who is widely known as "the chief architect of China's reform and opening up,” expressed his love for Jin Yong's novels when they met at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in 1981.
Jin Yong contributed in the return of Hong Kong to China by helping draft the Hong Kong Basic Law and taking a role in the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1996.
He was awarded the life-long achievement of the “You Bring Charm to the World Award” in 2008, which recognizes the most influential Chinese.