Even when answering the phone, Tao Gao sounded like the outlandish, exuberant person he was, Greg Hilton remembers.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôd say ‚ÄėWhat‚Äôs up G,‚Äô in just this really loud and excited voice,‚ÄĚ Hilton says. ‚ÄúThat energy and excitement he had for life for is memorable.‚ÄĚ
A well-known person in Columbia‚Äôs social scene, Gao‚Äôs moxie for living is being remembered by his friends as they received the news of his passing. On Sunday, his body was found in a pond in Irmo. An autopsy is pending but the Lexington County said no foul play was suspected. He was 42 years old.
Gao was a dancer and a philosopher, his friends say ‚ÄĒ a regular at clubs and bars in town, where you might find him showing up everyone on the floor while also spreading positivity to those who‚Äôd join him at a table.
‚ÄúHe loved life, lived large, and was not one to accept limits,‚ÄĚ said Gao‚Äôs former wife, Rachel Parker Varner.