Coco Lee, a Hong Kong-born singer and songwriter who had a highly successful career in Asia, has died by suicide, her siblings said Wednesday. She was 48.
Lee is popularly known for voicing the lead character in the Mandarin version of Disney's hit film Mulan, and performed a song from the soundtrack of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the 2001 Oscars.
Her sisters Carol and Nancy said she had been suffering from depression for “a few years” and attempted to take her life on Sunday.
The statement read, “To all the fans and friends who adore CoCo: With great sadness, we are here break the most devastating news: CoCo had been suffering from depression for a few years but her condition deteriorated drastically over the last few months,” the statement began. “On 2 July, she committed suicide at home and was sent to the hospital. Despite the best efforts of the hospital team to rescue and treat her from her coma, she finally passed away on 5 July, 2023.”
Mulan Star Coco Lee
Born in Hong Kong, Lee moved to the US as a child and released albums in Mandarin and English.
Lee became a singer after winning first runner-up in an annual singing competition held by Hong Kong broadcaster TVB and released her first album in 1994 at the age of 19.
Though Lee initially started off as a Mandopop singer, she later branched out to release albums in Cantonese and English over her nearly 30-year career.
“CoCo is also known to have worked tirelessly to open up a new world for Chinese singers in the international music scene, and she went all out to shine for the Chinese,” her sisters said in their post. “We are proud of her!”
She also was the first Chinese singer to break into the American market, and her English song 'Do You Want My Love.'
Lee was the voice of heroine Fa Mulan in the Mandarin version of Disney’s Mulan, and also sang the Mandarin version of the movie’s theme song “Reflection”
In 2011, Lee married Bruce Rockowitz, former chief executive officer of Hong Kong-based supply chain giant Li & Fung. They have two daughters from his previous marriage.
Rumours that they had split started to surface about three years ago, but Lee never addressed them.
'Incredibly difficult year'
On Wednesday, Lee's sisters wrote: "In addition to remembering Coco, I hope that you will share her trademark bright smile, honesty and kindness with everyone around you, and continue Coco's wish that all those around her will feel her love and joy."
In more recent years, she appeared on Chinese singing competition television shows including “Infinity and Beyond” and “Singer.”
Lee’s last Instagram post, dated December 31, 2022, acknowledged it had been an “incredibly difficult year,” but urged her followers to stay positive and spread love. “You are not alone, no matter how hard life gets, I’m with (you),” she wrote.
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