Celebrity Thai designer dies after Phuket beach rescue

PHUKET: One of Thailand’s best-known graphic designers, Pharuephon “Tum” Mukdasanit, was pronounced dead at Bangkok Hospital Phuket this morning after being pulled from the surf by lifeguards at Kata Beach on Saturday.

Mr Pharuephon, known to his many youthful fans by the moniker “Mamafaka”, was pronounced dead at 2:50am, a hospital medic told the Phuket Gazette.

He was set to turn 35 this Saturday.

“He was in coma since being transferred from Patong Hospital to our hospital,” the medic explained.

“He was keep in the Intensive Care Unit the entire time,” she added.

Mr Pharuephon was taking part in the Ripcurl Girls Go Surfing Day 2013 event, held at Kata Beach, on Saturday (click here).

At around 4:30pm, when he went swimming, a large wave nearly swept him out to sea. He was pulled out from the water unconscious by lifeguards and administered CPR before being taken to Patong Hospital.

He was later transferred to Bangkok Hospital Phuket near Phuket Town.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut visited Mr Pharuephon at the hospital’s ICU yesterday evening, when he handed a bouquet to Mr Pharuephon’s parents.

Mr Pharuephon’s final journey to his hometown Khon Kaen began at 10am today. The funeral will be held on Sunday.

A graduate from Rangsit University’s Faculty of Fine Art, Mr Pharuephon began his career in high style at the prestigious, global public relations and advertising company Ogilvy& Mather.

During his tragically short career, he won a slew of awards and was viewed as a figurehead for a new generation of designers and artists who are bolder and less tradition-bound than their predecessors.

In recent years, Mr Pharuephon worked as a freelance designer and designed the anime character “Mr HellYeah!”

At the time of his passing, his impressive client list in included the likes of Converse, VANS, K-Swiss, Billabong, CE Toys, M150, ISUZU, Smirnoff, V.O.X, Yamaha and Tiger Beer.

Three days before his death, he won the Best Illustrator Style Icon at the Cheeze Award 2013 festival in Bangkok.

Additional reporting by Orawin Narabal

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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