Dango Nguyen, a former Georgia firefighter who later appeared in episodes of “The Walking Dead” died Saturday at the age of 48 after battling cancer.
In a Facebook post from the Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services, officials confirmed Nguyen’s passing.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we mourn the loss of one of our former firefighters,” the post read. “Dango Nguyen passed away early this morning after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Dango was a member of our department for almost 20 years.”
The 48-year-old left his career with the department to pursue acting in 2011 when he first appeared on “Meet the Browns,” People reported.
He went on to land the role as a guard on “The Walking Dead” where he spent time onscreen with David Morrissey, the season’s villain, and Andrew Lincoln, the show’s star, among others.
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After leaving the cast of the drama series in 2013, Nguyen went on to other acting gigs such as “MacGyver,” “Banshee,” “The Gifted” and a four-year role on “The Originals.” He also served as a stuntman until his cancer diagnosis.
Even earlier, the actor had worked as a professional wrestler, according to his IMDb biography.
One of his oldest friends, former WWE star Rob Van Dam, remembered Nguyen on Twitter: “He lived an amazing life and rescued many people before he passed yesterday. RIP Dango Nguyen.”
In high school Dango and I felt Achilles’ choice of a hero’s fate was best-exciting life, but short. Later, w/the love of family & friends, I’m sure he’d of reconsidered the option, but he lived an amazing life and rescued many people before he passed yesterday.
RIP Dango Nguyen
— Rob Van Dam (@TherealRVD) August 11, 2019
However, in spite of his career changes, Nguyen was first and foremost a firefighter whose primary aim was to serve others.
The Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services continued in its tribute to the late actor by reminding everyone that the bonds between firefighters can never be broken, no matter what other dreams they may decide to chase.
“Dango was a sergeant with our department when he left to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and other interests. But, once you’re a firefighter, you’re always part of our family. And Dango was a very well known member of our family.
“He will always be remembered for his physical and mental strength,” the post read.
“He was an aggressive and tenacious firefighter and first responder. He was also an excellent fire officer. He carried out his service to our community with a high level of pride in his craft, as well as a competitive spirit that made everyone else that he worked with better too.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Michelle, his family, and all of his friends. He touched many lives. We will all remember his quick wit, high energy, and unwavering determination. We all aspire to be ‘Dango Strong’.”
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