Lydia Shum: who is Hong Kong star in Google Doodle - daughter Joyce Cheng’s Instagram tribute, cause of death

Lydia Shum, also known as Lydia Tin Ha Sum, is regarded as one of Hong Kong’s most beloved comedians, and is known for films and TV shows like her sitcom Living with Lydia

Today, Google is marking what would have been comedian Lydia Shum’s 77th birthday by presenting her with her own Google Doodle on the homepage of the search engine.

This is everything you need to know about the actress.

Who was Lydia Shum?

Shum was a Hong Kong comedian, singer and actress, known for her signature style of bouffant hair and dark rimmed glasses.

Shum was born on 21 July 1945 in Shanghai to parents Sung Shen Gee and Sung Tan Sun. She was the sister of fashion designer Alfred Sung.

Hong Kong movie star Lydia Shum walks the so-called Star Boulevard at the Keelung Cultural Center, northern Taiwan, 13 November 2005 (Photo by PATRICK LIN/AFP via Getty Images)

She made her way into the entertainment industry when she was a teenager, starring in projects for the Shaw Brothers Studio, the largest production company in Hong Kong at the time.

She made her film debut in 1960, when she was 15, in the Griffin Yueh Feng directed comedy When Peach Blossoms Bloom.

In 1967, Shum landed her breakout role as the emcee on the popular variety show called Enjoy Yourself Tonight.

What films was she in?

Shum starred in a huge number of films throughout her career - according to the Hong Kong movie database, she appeared in 177 movies.

One of her best known roles was that of Aunty Lydia in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World, a four part blockbuster film series.

She was also well known for her sitcom Living with Lydia, an English-language series in Singapore which saw her bag the Best Comedy Performance at the Asian Television Awards in 2003.

Living with Lydia was a Singaporean TV sitcom that aired from 2001 to 2005 (Photo: MediaCorp/Channel 5)

Some of her other films include Happy Years (1968), The Little Warrior (1969), The Mad Bar (1970), Songs and Romance Forever (1972), Love is a Four Letter Word (1973), The House of 72 Tenants (1973), Loveable Mr Able (1974), Kissed by Wolves (1974), Double Fattiness (1988), Faithfully Yours (1988), The Banquet (1991), He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father (1993), Fitness Tour (1997).

While she was known as a comedy actress, fans of the kung fu genre will also recognise her appearance in the film Drunken Tai Chi (1984), directed by Yuen Woo-ping.

In 2006, Shum hosted the TVB series Where Are They Now? in which she travelled across Taiwan, Japan, the USA and Canada to interview popular celebrities of the 1960s in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Throughout its 32 episode run, Shum interviewed people like actor Jimmy Wang Yu, singer Judy Ongg, news anchor Stanley So and 1973 Miss Hong Kong beauty pageant winner Elaine Shin Wing Yan.

Was she married - did she have children?

Shum married actor and singer Adam Cheng in January 1985 after a decade of courtship.

The two welcomed their daughter Joyce Cheng on 30 May 1987, however, eight months later, Cheng and Shum divorced.

Their daughter went on to become a singer, writer and actress in Hong Kong.

After their breakup, Cheng went on to get married to Taiwanese actress Koon Jing-wah, with whom he had two more daughters - Winnie and Cecily.

Shum did not get married again after her marriage to Cheng.

What did Joyce Cheng say about the Google Doodle?

On her Instagram story, Joyce shared a screenshot of the Google Doodle remembering her mother.

She captioned the post: “Happy birthday to my [mother].

Joyce Cheng shared a picture of herself and her mother on her Instagram (Photo: Instagram/@princejoyce)

“Thank you @google for remembering my mom.”

She also shared an old picture of herself and Shum from when she was a baby, and Shum a new mother.

When did she die?

Shum passed away on 19 February 2008, at the age of 62. She was known to be suffering from liver cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy and kidney dialysis as part of her treatment.

Shum had suffered from a number of chronic health conditions in her lifetime, including cholangitis, which refers to the inflammation of the bile duct, diabetes and hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

In 2002, she was admitted to hospital where she had 36 gallstones extracted and then a few years later, in 2006, she was diagnosed with a liver tumour and cancer around her gallbladder.

Joyce Cheng (L), daughter of TV star Lydia Shum (poster at R) speaks at a press conference accompanied by friends and relatives in Hong Kong February 20, 2008 (Photo by MIKE CLARKE/AFP via Getty Images)

At the time, doctors removed a third of her liver. Prior to having her gallbladder removed in 2002, she suffered from bile duct inflammation in 1978 and in 1989. When the inflammation occurred again in September 2006, it complicated her liver to such an extent that she slipped into a coma until October.

At the end of January 2007, she had a liver tumour removed and in March that year the tumour was found to be growing once again, so she had yet another surgery.

On 22 January 2008, Shum was admitted into intensive care, where she was kept for four days. Shortly after being discharged, she was admitted once again on 2 February, where her condition deteriorated.

On 19 February, her family made the decision that her life support would be withdrawn. With her family by her side, her breathing apparatus was removed and Shum passed away at 8:38am that day.

At the end of February, Shum was buried at Burnaby’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park in a private ceremony.