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Hong Kong journalist, martial arts novelist Louis Cha dies

In this June 18, 2007, photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Louis Cha smiles during a speech at Peking University in Beijing. Cha, a Hong Kong journalist and best-selling Chinese martial arts novelist, has died on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 at a Hong Kong hospital at age 94 after a long illness. (Luo Xiaoguang/Xinhua via AP)

HONG KONG (AP) — Louis Cha, a Hong Kong journalist and best-selling Chinese martial arts novelist, has died at age 94 after a long illness.

The Hong Kong newspaper founded by Cha, Ming Pao Daily News, said he passed away Tuesday at a Hong Kong hospital.

Cha’s novels about ancient Chinese swordsmen have sold millions and are among the most widely read in the Chinese-speaking world. They inspired film adaptations, TV and radio dramas, comic books and videogames, and greatly influenced Hong Kong popular culture.

They include “The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Saber,” about a kindhearted hero who is indecisive but uses his kung fu skills to unify a divided gang and is elected its leader, and “The Eagle-Shooting Heroes,” about a tragic hero who sacrifices his life in guarding the country against invading Mongolians.

Cha was born in 1924 in Hangzhou in mainland China and graduated from the Law School of Suzhou in 1948, the South China Morning Post said. He had planned to become a diplomat, but began work as a journalist in 1947 to support his studies. The communist revolution in 1949 closed off his opportunities to enter diplomacy.

Cha’s first novel, “The Book and the Sword,” was published in 1955 and became an instant hit. He went on to write 14 martial arts novels, often under the pen name Jin Yong.

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