Tang Jiezhong, a famous performer of Chinese "crosstalk" comedy, died on Sunday night at the age of 85 after long suffering from stomach cancer, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Beijing-born artist had taken part in China's Spring Festival Gala on numerous occasions, and his "crosstalk" performance "Escaping Daydream" with Jiang Kun, another respected crosstalk master, is famous in China.
Han Zhanjun, who was Tang's apprentice, paid tribute to his mentor on Chinese social media platform Weibo, saying: "We will forever remember him. He is the truly master of Chinese Xiangsheng."
Xiangsheng, in Chinese -- or crosstalk -- is a traditional Chinese comedy art featuring jokes and funny dialogues. It can be performed as a monologue, dialogue or a multi-player show.
Traditional xiangsheng performances either satirize practices of old China or reflect social phenomena through humorous storytelling. It originated in Beijing, but is popular across the country.