UPDATE 1/21/2015 – as yet unconfirmed – Law Enforcement officials reportedly told TMZ that overdose of prescription medication was Shalavi’s cause of death.
Shalavi’s sister, Actress Elizabeth Shalavi tweeted:
Darren Shalavi, martial artist, stuntman and actor of IP MAN 2 fame passed away early morning January 20, 2015 “peacefully in his sleep” according to brother Bobby Shahlavi. He was 42, and no details on the cause of death are known at this time. He had just wrapped filming with Jean Claude Van Damme on the movie POUND OF FLESH. He was known for his roles in: IP MAN 2, 300, WATCHMEN, ALONE IN THE DARK, and as “Kano” in the online MORTAL KOMBAT series.
He moved to Hong Kong, where he was discovered and cast in the martial art film TAI CHI CHUAN as a villain. Initial reaction from Asian moviegoers was intense, as he played the “bad guy” so convincingly “people would turn away from me in the street,” he revealed in our interview in 2011. In short time, he became known and loved the world over as he responded to fans with humility and kindness that was characteristic of his dealings with the public.
He expanded his role into Hollywood in supporting roles “as a boxer fighting Eddie Murphy in 2002’s “I Spy” and 2004’s “The Final Cut” with Robin Williams. In TV, he was a guest star in “Sanctuary,” “Human Target” and “Reaper.” Shahlavi returned to Hong Kong action films in 2010, co-starring with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung in “Ip Man 2,” the semi-autobiographical tale of Bruce Lee’s real-life kung fu master Ip Man. Shahlavi played the evil British boxing champ the Twister. The movie would go on to become the most successful Asian film at the box office in 2010.” Alex Stedman – Variety Magazine
In this comment thread from the conversation we had in 2011 for Austin Daze magazine, it is apparent that he was winning over his audience. Here he talks to Michele Williams of his role as “Twister” in Ip Man 2, and conveys his gratitude to Donnie Yen and other martial artists that inspired him to become both a martial artist and an actor.
The first news of his death came on his official Facebook page early Tuesday morning from his brother Bobby Shahlavi:
Rest in Peace Darren, you were a class act.
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