UPDATED: Martial Artist Darren Shahlavi: 1972 - 2015

Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
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UPDATED: Martial Artist Darren Shahlavi: 1972 - 2015
UPDATE: Three months after the tragic death of martial artist Darren Shahlavi, on 14 January at the age of 42, his family have received the official coroner's report from the Los Angeles County Coroners Department, and would like it to be known that Darren died of natural causes, rather than of a drug overdose, as some news outlets wrongly stated at the time of his death.

"Darren died on January 14, 2015 of natural causes: a sudden and fatal heart attack. He was found to have Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD) His left anterior descending artery was 95% blocked, which must have been worsening for several years.

Darren had no drugs or medications in his body, and only 0.02% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration); to put this into context 0.08% is the BAC Driving Limit for both he US & UK. There are no other medical factors linked to his death.

The Shahlavi family is raising funds to build a permanent memorial to Darren in Hollywood. More information can be found here."

This information was shared by former colleague, family friend and friend of the site Mike Leeder. You can read his heartfelt and passionate post in its entirety on his Facebook page here.


Martial artist and action star, Darren Shahlavi, passed away in his sleep on January 14th. A family member posted the announcement earlier today on Darren's Facebook page and tributes from action stars and action film sites started pouring in. Shahlavi's agent confirmed with Variety later in the day that the announcement was true. No cause of death has been released officially. 

As any of the tributes share Shahlavi began practicing martial arts at an early age in the U.K. and began working in film in the early 90s. His big break came when he was cast as the villain across from Jing Wu in his debut film, Tai Chi Boxer, directed by the legendary Yuen Wo Ping in 1996. 

He would continue to work in Hong Kong and down in Hollywood as actor, stunt man and choreographer. He fought against some of the best. He fought Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung in Ip Man 2. He went tête-à-tête with Michael Jai White in the first episode of French series Metal Hurlant Chronicles. He most recently worked with Jean-Claude Van Damme in Pound of Flesh.

If one thing is clear from all the tributes coming in from actors, stunt men, choreographers and his friends around the world is that Shahlavi was a much loved and respected man in the genre. He will be missed. 

Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time. 
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Darren ShahlaviDonnie YenJean-Claude Van DammeJing WuSammo HungYuen Wo Ping

Around the Internet

Hanajun ChungJanuary 20, 2015 8:33 PM

oh snap! All day I was like, "where do I know him from?" and he's Twister from Ip Man 2! I watched Tai Chi Boxer years ago and I don't remember him in that, but I think the DVD I saw was a condensed version of a series.

In any case, it's unfortunate. He will be missed. Despite playing the villain, my friends and I love when he'd chew scenery as Twister. We're definitely going to watch that one again for sure.

cuttermaranJanuary 20, 2015 8:46 PM

RIP, Darren

GrayFoxJanuary 21, 2015 12:41 AM

RIP He was great :(

DJ_BobbyPeruJanuary 21, 2015 5:40 AM

No lie, Twister is a favorite villain of mine. He was somewhat of an inside joke among me and a couple friends of mine, just imitating him at random times. RIP.

arturoJanuary 21, 2015 8:09 AM

Sad loss, i enjoyed him in IP Man 2...

QinlongJanuary 21, 2015 9:15 AM

Among his lesser-known roles, he also showed some comedic chops in Tactical Unit with Steve Austin and Michael Jai White. And quite a classy villain in The Package. This is horrible news.

Hanajun ChungJanuary 21, 2015 2:50 PM

Even though it was pretty likely Yen's character was going to win the fights at the end of both Ip Man films, Shahlavi's performance actually got me excited for the fight in the sequel, and they both totally delivered. Unlike the first film, where I was just kind of waiting to see how long the villain could last. RIP

Dave BaxterJanuary 22, 2015 4:02 AM

"Tai Chi Boxer" (in the UK) is aka "Tai Chi 2" (everywhere else), and came out well before the TV series and/or the DVD English compilation of the same. Darren wasn't in the TV series DVD ("Tai Chi Master" aka "Tai Chi 3") but was the lead baddie in the feature film, which also starred Wu Jing, and was in fact his debut role.

wikig1itchJanuary 22, 2015 4:14 AM

Sad news. A gifted martial artist & charismatic actor. Rest In Peace.

GuyJanuary 23, 2015 1:48 PM

We still don't know what happened exactly?

Hanajun ChungJanuary 23, 2015 5:22 PM

ah. Thank you for clarifying! For a condensed version of the series, the action was well done. I don't think I've seen the feature, but I'll have to check it out. With Wu Jing most likely looking at retirement, any discovery is much welcomed.