Pan Linhe, 51, had worked so much during recent floods that he couldn"t even see his wife.
Pan, who was head of the civil affairs office of Longshui in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was found dead in his car on July 5 after working without a break for several days after severe rainfall struck Quanzhou county.
He was supposed to join his wife in handling the funeral of his brother-in-law, but he was unable to keep his word.
Li Chunlin, Pan"s wife－mother of a son and a 4-month-old daughter－described the news of her husband"s death as a bolt from the blue. She was often unable to contact him, she said, calling him a workaholic.
"He is into calligraphy and writing, so he often stayed up to handle lots of documents, going beyond his duty. But he was happy to serve people, so he never cared about the heavy work," Li said.
Tang Rengang, a colleague on Pan"s team, recalled that when they rushed to Jintian village, where grain fields were heavily damaged by floodwaters, Pan felt such pity for the residents that he visited them door-to-door to address their needs.
"He had little time to rest. In the daytime we moved residents to safety in case of a house collapse. At night we had to record the losses," Tang said.
Before he walked to his car for a break on July 4, Pan was handing out relief goods to disabled residents who suffered losses in the disaster. He also served as the chairman of the local branch of the China Disabled Persons" Federation.
According to Tang Hong, deputy head of publicity for Quanzhou, Pan was a diligent official who was always close to the people.
The local government said on Monday that the excessive work and fatigue was no doubt the main cause of Pan"s sudden death by heart attack, and he would be treated as a hero.
A new round of rainstorms have battered 25 counties in Guangxi since Monday. Twenty rivers in the region have seen floods surpass warning levels, according to the regional hydrology and water resources bureau. As of 5 pm on Wednesday, two people had died and 83,600 people had been affected by floods.