China’s most high-profile philanthropist Chen Guangbiao has been hospitalised after being poisoned by toxic air at the Tianjin explosion site. Chen had travelled to the disaster zone to assist with the cleanup effort.

Chen is hospitalised. Photo: Chen Guangbiao.

The recycling tycoon arrived at the port city on Thursday, less than 24 hours after powerful chemical explosions ripped through a logistics centre killing over 100 people and injuring more than 700 others.

Chen cleans rubbles at Tianjin explosion site. Photo: Chen Guangbiao.

According to his official account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, Chen brought a team of rescuers and crane trucks with him.

Chen stands on the Tianjin explosion site. Photo: Chen Guangbiao.

Pictures posted on his Weibo page showed Chen posing with his team and shovelling rubble.

Chen poses with his rescue team. Photo: Chen Guangbiao.

Following more than 30 hours of hard work, the 47-year-old was hospitalised after experiencing fatigue and chest congestion, mainland news portal Sina reported on Sunday.

Chen was diagnosed with “moderate poisoning”, Sina said.

Chen offers cash to US poor. Photo: Sina News.

Chen is known for bizarre publicity stunts. In 2013, the entrepreneur made an offer to buy the New York Times but management at the newspaper refused to meet him. In 2014, he travelled to New York to offer free lunch and cash to “poor and destitute Americans.”

And in 2015, Chen took the famous ice bucket challenge but later admitted the water in his bucket was 50 degrees Celsius, topped with ice.

Chen’s business card. Photo: Business Insider.

Chen is worth US$400 million according to Forbes, or US$810 million according to China’s Hurun.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.