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Chinese Video Game Tycoon, Netflix Producer Dead After Alleged Poisoning

Lin Qi, the chairman and CEO of Yoozoo Games, died on Christmas Day following a weeklong illness that may have stemmed from a poisoned cup of tea.
VCG via Getty Images
Lin Qi, the chairman and CEO of Yoozoo Games, died on Christmas Day following a weeklong illness that may have stemmed from a poisoned cup of tea.

The Chinese billionaire CEO of video game developer Yoozoo Group died on Christmas Day following a suspected colleague's alleged poisoning plot.

Lin Qi died at the age of 39, according to Shanghai police. Lin's company, Yoozoo, is best known for its Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming game.

Before his death, Lin was attached to an upcoming, high-profile Netflix project. Lin'z Yoozoo Group had purchased the rights to the Chinese sci-fi trilogy The Three Body Problem in 2015. Netflix announced in September it would adapt the internationally bestselling books into an English series with Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Television writer Alexander Woo was also set to write and produce the series, according to Variety. Lin was also involved as executive producer on the project.

Lin became sick last week and was hospitalized on Dec. 16, reportedly barely able to walk and with symptoms of "acute illness." He was immediately brought to the ICU for treatment, where he had to be resuscitated after his heart stopped, according to local reports.

By Dec. 24, Shanghai police said a man was detained for the alleged poisoning of Lin. Police referred to both men by their surnames, but media reports said the detained suspect was Lin's colleague, Xu Yao.

The next day, Lin was dead.

Xu was a senior executive for Yoozoo's film and television division. Alleged infighting at the company may be the motive behind the attack on Lin, according to reports. Those reports suggested that Lin may have been poisoned by a tainted cup of pu'er, a fermented tea.

When Yoozoo purchased the film rights to develop The Three Body Problem series in 2015, plans to develop the movie under its own production team were fraught with problems. That included senior personnel changes throughout the production and difficulties on set, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Eventually the company gave up on the endeavor and sold the rights for the film to Netflix, as well as the video game production for the trilogy to a Chinese company.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.
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