Chinese director Xie Jin dies

Career spanned six decades

HONG KONG – Director Xie Jin, one of modern Chinese cinema's most prominent figures with a six-decade career that dates back to the pre-communist era, has died at the age of 84.

The veteran filmmaker was found dead early Saturday in his hotel room in the eastern Chinese city Shangyu, where he was attending the 100th anniversary of his middle school, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The cause of death remained unclear, Xinhua said in a report late Saturday.

Chinese actress Liu Xiaoqing, made famous by Xie's 1968 film "Hibiscus Town," said on her blog Saturday the director was still active Friday, picking up his wife from the hospital, where she had a pacemaker installed, before leaving for his middle school.

Liu said Xie drank some alcohol at a banquet later that evening.

Born in 1923 to a wealth Shanghai banker, Xie started his career in theater before moving to film.

Known for movies with strong female characters, his credits include "The Legend of Tianyun Mountain," "The Red Detachment of Women," "Stage Sisters" and Woman Basketball Player No. 5."