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A billionaire helped bring ‘3-Body Problem’ to Netflix. His business partner ensured he never lived to see its premiere

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Hong Kong CNN —

Lin Qi, a billionaire fan of “The Three-Body Problem,” had big plans to bring his favorite Chinese sci-fi novel to TV, cinema and video-game screens across the world.

Flush with cash after the listing of his gaming company in 2014, the young entrepreneur envisioned turning China’s most beloved sci-fi trilogy into a global pop culture phenomenon in the same league as “Star Wars.”

A decade on, Lin would have been a step closer to achieving his dream when a Netflix adaptation of the Hugo Award-winning book drew millions of viewers worldwide – but the billionaire who helped make the show happen never lived to see it.

Lin, who was named as an executive producer in the opening credits of “3 Body Problem,” was poisoned and killed at age 39, according to Chinese authorities, months after Netflix announced its plans to produce the series in 2020.

The culprit was one of Lin’s own executives, a high-flying lawyer who helped Lin’s Yoozoo Games secure the rights to adapt the highly acclaimed trilogy.

After falling out with his boss, Xu Yao gifted Lin a bottle of what he said were probiotic pills, but which contained a cocktail of lethal toxins he bought off the dark web.

Media reports of the meticulously planned murder have gripped China, where it has drawn comparisons online to the American crime drama “Breaking Bad.” According to Chinese media outlets, it involved the mixing and testing of more than a hundred poisons in a makeshift suburban lab.

Xu was sentenced to death for murder by a court in Shanghai on March 22 — the day after the much-anticipated