He Quangui, the silicosis-stricken former gold miner who became the subject of a heart-rending photo story by Beijing-based photographer Sim Chi Yin, died at his home in rural Shaanxi on August 1.
He had battled the occupational lung disease silicosis for 10 years—outliving doctors’ expectations. With the help of Sim, who also released a short film about He, he was able to spread awareness about the plights of millions of rural migrant workers in China like himself.
The photographer gave a touching tribute to He in a post to Facebook on the day of his death, saying “I regret that I was never able to show him a magazine with his story and pictures printed in it. The online publications in National Geographic, The New York Times he could never see or watch in his mountain home with a poor Internet signal. I made him an album of the photographs and I know he treasures it.”
“I think he perhaps went with some peace of mind, knowing that the funds the story — published online — raised for his family, will go some way to taking care of his beloved wife and son Jinbo.”
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