Law Society President Adrian Tan Passes Away Aged 57 After Battling Cancer For 16 Months

Law Society Pays Tribute To President Adrian Tan After He Passes Away, Calling Him A Trusted Comrade

In a sudden and surprising turn of events, Mr Adrian Tan, President of the Law Society of Singapore, has passed away.

He was aged 57.

Source: Law Society of Singapore on Instagram

The sad news came after he had battled cancer since March 2022.

Adrian Tan passes away on 8 July

The Law Society announced Mr Tan’s passing in a statement on their website on Saturday (8 July).

They said “with profound sorrow” that their President had passed away on the same day.

The statement also paid tribute to him, describing him as a distinguished leader, cherished friend and trusted comrade, adding,

Adrian’s absence leaves an indescribable void that cannot be filled. His memory will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

They extended their deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Adrian Tan was diagnosed with cancer in March 2022

Mr Tan’s passing comes 16 months after his cancer diagnosis in March 2022.

In a LinkedIn post in July 2022, he revealed that he began to feel ill in February of that year, shortly after being elected President of the Law Society.

He saw a doctor in March, who, after some tests, revealed the shocking news that he had cancer.


This prompted him to undergo an “aggressive treatment regime” involving chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy.

Source: Adrian Tan on LinkedIn

The Law Society said Mr Tan “exemplified extraordinary courage” throughout his battle with cancer.

This included continuing his duties with “resolve and cheerfulness”.

Perhaps most importantly, he “never failed to grace us with his trademark humour”, they added.

Shanmugam says he was gone too soon

When the news spread, many expressed sadness at his passing.

One of those who paid tribute to him was Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, saying on Facebook that it was his privilege to have known him for many years.

Source: K Shanmugam Sc on Facebook

He was witty, pleasant to spend time with and blessed with a sharp mind and a wonderful heart.

The minister also described Mr Tan as a “true Renaissance Man” as he was multi-talented, being a best-selling author who dabbled in technology and had a second degree in computer science.

He was also known for his “virally popular posts” on LinkedIn.

That’s why he passed “far too young” and “far too soon”, Mr Shanmugam said.

He wrote The Teenage Textbook

After reading the minister’s tribute, some might ask: What did Mr Tan write that became a bestseller?

Younger folks may not realise that he’s the same Adrian Tan who wrote young adult fiction novels The Teenage Textbook and its sequel, The Teenage Workbook, in 1988 and 1989, respectively.

Source: Aaron Ong on Facebook

They proved so popular that The Teenage Textbook was adapted into a movie in 1998 starring Melody Chen and Caleb Goh.

The Teenage Textbook was also made into a Mediacorp TV series in 2021, starring Xuan Ong, Chen Yixin, and Chris Mak.

He shared his views on many topics

As for the “virally popular posts” Mr Shanmugam was talking about, Mr Tan has shared his views on many topics over LinkedIn.

One of them was the HDB cat ban, which he criticised and said should be abolished.

In November 2022, despite suffering from cancer, Mr Tan found the energy to slam Virgin Group founder Richard Branson for turning down Mr Shanmugam’s invitation to a debate over the death penalty in Singapore.

As his last post on LinkedIn was in June, about the doomed Titanic submarine, it’s clear that Mr Tan’s mind was still active, as he was still eager to share his views near the end.

His last message to the Law Gazette was also released in June.

A great loss as Adrian Tan passes away

Thus, most will agree with Mr Shanmugam that Mr Tan’s passing is indeed a great loss.

MS News sends our condolences to his friends and loved ones at this time.

May they find comfort in the lasting legacy that he has no doubt left behind.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at

Featured image adapted from Law Society of Singapore on Instagram and Adrian Tan on LinkedIn.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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