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Coco Lee, Hong Kong-born singer-songwriter, dies at 48 after suicide attempt

Her most notable performances were voicing of Mulan in the Mandarin-language version of Disney’s 'Mulan' and performing the Oscar-nominated song 'A Love Before Time' from 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

Reuters
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Singer Coco Lee poses on the red carpet at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan, Nov 26, 2016. Photo: Reuters
Singer Coco Lee poses on the red carpet at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan, Nov 26, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong-born American singer Coco Lee died at 48 on Wednesday following a suicide attempt that left her in a coma, Lee’s two sisters, Carol and Nancy Lee, said in a statement posted on Instagram and Facebook.

Lee died in Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, where she had been living.

"Although, Coco sought professional help and did her best to fight depression, sadly that demon inside of her took the better of her," the statement said.

"On July 2, 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 July 5, 2023," the statement said.

Lee's career spanned around 30 years. Among her most notable performances were voicing of the female warrior Mulan in the Mandarin-language version of Disney’s “Mulan" and performing the Oscar-nominated song "A Love Before Time" from the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

She was born in Hong Kong in 1975 and was the youngest of three children of a Hong Kong Cantonese mother and Malaysian father.

Lee's father passed away before she was born, and by the age of nine her mother had moved Lee and her sisters to the US, to San Francisco.

After graduating high school in 1992, she was offered a recording contract in Hong Kong with Capital Artists, eventually leading her to depart from her studies at the University of California, Irvine, to focus on her music career.

In 1996, Lee signed with Sony Music Entertainment and her debut album, "Coco Lee", became the best-selling album of that year in Asia.

It wasn't long before Lee gained fandoms in both Asia and the US, which began her path to new collaborations and English-language songs.

She recorded 18 studio albums and appeared in three films, most notably Lee Xin’s “Master of Everything” and “No Tobacco” by Stanley Kwan.

In 2011, Lee married Bruce Rockowitz, a Canadian businessman who is the former CEO of the Hong Kong supply chain company Li & Fung. He survives her, as do her sisters and two stepdaughters.

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