Thousands of fans of late Hong Kong heartthrob Leslie Cheung braved torrential rain on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the star's death. Cheung was notable for being one of only a few Asian stars to play openly gay characters and came out about his homosexuality after the 1997 movie Happy Together, directed by Hong Kong's Wong Kar-Wai. The Canto-pop singer and actor, best known for his portrayal of an opera star in the acclaimed 1993 historical epic movie Farewell My Concubine, leapt to his death from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on April 1 last
year after a long battle with depression. He was 46.
A deluge of carnations and white roses were piled outside the Mandarin as a stream of grieving fans arrived in a somber mood, dressed in black, to attend a memorial organized by fan the club Leslie Cheung Cyberworld. The fans came from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, the event organizer said. Inside, an ad hoc memorial hall decorated with white curtains and white roses was filled with crying admirers of the late star. "I couldn't sleep last night thinking of Gor Gor [Cantonese for "big brother," Cheung's nickname]," said 35-year-old Singaporean Toon Fong Chen. "I don't want to accept that he is dead. This doesn't feel real." Toon and her friends booked a room at the Mandarin Thursday to "accompany Gor Gor because we know he is lonely. We want to feel his presence," she added.