Newbee's Chen "Hao" Zhihao has announced that he plans to take a six month break with the potential to retire forever, via a post on his personal Weibo page.
The carry player has had a lengthy and decorated Dota 2 career, starting with TyLoo back in 2011, with whom he attended The International for the first time. He has attended every single TI ever since, and won The International 4 with Newbee, defeating Vici Gaming.
Hao's career has seen him playing for several major Chinese Dota 2 squads. After TyLoo, he joined TongFu for TI2 and TI3, Invictus Gaming for a brief period in late 2013/early 2014, Newbee for his TI4 championship and Vici Gaming for TI5 (featuring an impressive fourth-place finish after a massive post-Aegis slump).
Finally, he returned to Newbee in September 2015. They attended all three Majors, but had shaky results in Frankfurt and Shanghai before finalizing their roster with the addition of Damien "kpii" Chok and Wong Hock "ChuaN" Chuan in March.
Newbee took third place in The Manila Major, losing to Team Liquid in the lower bracket final. They came to The International 6 as one of the favorite Chinese teams, but a familiar foe knocked them out of the tournament — they lost to Team Liquid in the second round of the lower bracket, ending in 9th-12th place.
It remains to be seen whether Hao will actually stay away from playing Dota 2, but his post asks for continued support from his fans, implying some presence in the scene whether it may be streaming, casting or something else entirely.
Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.