Sir David Tang, chairman of the Pacific Cigar Co., the exclusive Cuban cigar distributor for the Asia Pacific region, died of liver cancer last night at the Royal Marsden Hospital in England. The Hong Kong businessman was 63 years old.
Well known throughout the international Cuban cigar community, Tang founded Pacific Cigar in 1992 after being granted exclusive distribution rights by Habanos S.A. Through this importation-distribution channel, Tang provided Cuban cigars to dozens of retail shops in the Asia Pacific region, as well as to shops in Canada and China, totaling more than 60 retail stores across the region.
"The cigar world and all of us have lost a wonderful, generous, energetic and outspoken personality who created magic for all those fortunate enough to be around him," Dag Holmboe, CEO of Pacific Cigar Co., told Cigar Aficionado.
An emissary of luxury goods, David Tang's business interests expanded beyond Cuban cigars, as he was founder of the Shanghai Tang line of clothing, which was sold to Swiss luxury goods company Richemont in 1998 and is now a global brand. Tang even enjoyed knighthood—he was awarded a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his charity work.
Tang was known for the lavish parties he held in Havana during the Habanos Festival, and according to a report by Reuters, he had planned a large farewell party, in his typical bon vivant fashion, at the Dorchester Hotel in London after doctors gave him only a month to live. However the Financial Times reported that he passed away before the party could take place.
"When I visited him in the hospital only two days ago, he asked if he could help me with any restaurant reservations," added Holmboe. "A socialite to the end!"
Tang was born in Hong Kong and educated in England. He is survived by his wife, Lucy, as well as his daughter Victoria and son Edward.