Veteran Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan (front) performs during the 2009 Spring Festival Gala held by China Central Television. [File Photo: m1905.com]
One of China's most renowned comedians, Zhao Benshan, had a stroke early Wednesday and is being treated in Shanghai, said a hospital spokesman.
An initial diagnosis revealed that Zhao, who was conscious and in a stable condition, suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, said Huang Fengping, head of the Nanhui District branch of Huashan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, where Zhao was first treated.
A subarachnoid hemorrhage is a stroke that can be triggered by excessive emotion or use of strength and is more likely to hit people in their prime, Huang said.
Zhao felt sick when shooting the sequel of the popular TV series "Village Love" and was taken to hospital, said Liu Shuangping, president of the Benshan Media Group, a company Zhao launched in 2003.
Liu said at the hospital at around 5:30 p.m. that Zhao was conscious and "hopes to eat the mooncakes with us" on the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls Saturday.
"His condition is private. To respect Zhao's privacy, I have no right to disclose the details," Liu said. "But I can tell you responsibly that rumors of coronary occlusion, cerebral hemorrhage and coma that are spreading online are not the fact.
"Zhao asked us to thank you for your concern and wished all of you happiness on the National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival," he said.
Zhao was transferred to the headquarters of the hospital where his condition is being reviewed. A comprehensive diagnosis was set for around 3 p.m., said a doctor, who declined to be named.
Zhao Benshan, 52, is a household name in China. He has starred in and directed short comic plays for the Spring Festival Gala, one of China's most influential TV programs, since 1990, skipping only 1994. He also played in many TV series. Many of his performances have become enduring classic comedies in China.
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