A native of Anping, Hebei Province, he gained the confidence of Emperor Ling (reigned 168-189), who referred to him as his 'father(阿父)'. Zhang Rang is characterized as “mastermind behind the emperor's financial manipulations” (that included extraordinary taxation and sale of offices). In 185 he was ennobled with eleven other eunuchs for what Emperor Ling considered to be accomplishments in suppressing the Yellow Turban Rebellion.
The influential families and the officials, including He Jin, Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, all agreed that Zhang Rang's power was too great. After Emperor Ling died and was succeeded by his son Liu Bian in 189, these individuals invaded the capital for the purpose of defeating the Ten Attendants, leading to He Jin's beheading in the palace courtyard by the Ten Attendants. Zhang kidnapped the emperor and his brother, the future Emperor Xian. However, Zhang was soon surrounded by enemy soldiers and so jumped in the river and drowned himself.
^ abB. J. Mansvelt Beck, The fall of Han, in D. Twitchett and J. K. Fairbank (eds.), The Cambridge History of China, vol. 1, The Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C.–A.D. 220, (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 317-376.