Lin Qi, a Netflix executive producer and CEO of games developer Yoozoo, died at the age of 39 in a suspected poisoning, police said. Lin fell ill over a week ago and was hospitalized on December 16 with symptoms of “acute illness,” NPR reported. Shanghai police said in a statement that Lin was “likely to have been poisoned.”
After admitting himself to the hospital, Lin was brought to the ICU and had to be resuscitated when his heart stopped, NPR wrote, and the 39-year-old died on December 25. In a statement issued December 24, police said their investigation pointed to one of Lin’s colleagues as the primary suspect, a 39-year-old man with the surname Xu. Local reports identified the suspect as Xu Yao, NPR wrote. Xu is in police custody and the investigation is ongoing, police said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lin was possibly involved in a dispute among the executive ranks of his company.
Lin was the billionaire CEO of Yoozoo, a video game developer best known for the game Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming. He was also the executive producer of a major upcoming Netflix project, an English adaptation of the Chinese sci-fi series The Three-Body Problem, NPR reported.
Yoozoo Announced That Lin Was Hospitalized Before Revealing He’d Died & Local Reports Stated His Tea May Have Contained the Poison
Yoozoo first announced Lin’s hospitalization in a statement indicating that he had admitted himself and his condition was stable. Later that week, however, the company shocked employees and followers when it announced that the founder had died, the BBC reported. Current and former employees gathered at the Yoozoo headquarters in a vigil to honor him and mourn his death, the outlet wrote.
Lin was the founder and chairman of Yoozoo and Xu worked for the company as a senior executive for the film and television section, NPR reported, citing local media. According to these outlets, possible infighting at the company could have been a motive for Lin’s murder. NPR wrote that local media reported Lin’s poisoning occurred when he drank a cup of laced pu’er, a kind of fermented tea.
Yoozoo’s announcement of Lin’s death included the following tribute, reported by the Guardian:
You saw through what was imperfect but still believed in beauty; encountered unkindness but still believed in kindness. Together, we will continue to be kind, continue to believe in beauty, and continue to fight against all that is unkind.
Lin Was Known as a Major Figure in the Gaming Industry & Recently Branched out Into Movie Production
Lin founded Yoozoo in 2009 and became known as a major player in the video game industry and mobile gaming through his leadership of the company, the BBC wrote. Yoozoo was perhaps best known for releasing the hit Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming game as well as publishing with China’s Tencent Holdings the Supercell game Brawl Stars, according to the outlet.
More recently, Lin took his company Yoozoo into film production and acquired the rights to The Three-Body Problem, a Chinese sci-fi series. However, the company failed to launch the film series and earlier this year granted the rights to Netflix to adapt it into a TV series with Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Lin’s net worth was 6.8 billion yuan ($1 billion), making him number 870 on the list of China’s richest businesspeople, CBS News reported. He was also known as a fan of poetry and calligraphy, the BBC shared.