By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 02 2003 1:00 AM ET
Hong Kong film icon Leslie Cheung commits suicide
Cantonese pop star and actor Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, who starred in the hit film Farewell My Concubine, jumped to his death in Hong Kong on Tuesday, a police source said. Cheung, 46, jumped from the landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the central business district early in the evening and left a suicide note, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
A police spokeswoman said a 46-year-old man with the surname Cheung plunged to his death from the hotel in the early evening, but she declined to reveal the full name. "The man was certified dead at hospital. His name is Cheung 'X' Wing and was aged 46. He left a suicide letter," she said, declining to give details.
News about the singer's death was reported by Hong Kong television and radio and was also posted on a Web site for his fans, www.LeslieCheung.com. "LEGEND FOREVER!!! Mr. Leslie Cheung passed away on April 1st, 2003," read the home page of the Web site in white letters against a black background. Cheung was noted as one of the few Asian male stars to play openly gay characters, his biography on the Web site of booksellers Barnes & Noble says. In 2000 Cheung came out as bisexual in Time magazine.
His acting career took off in 1986 when he starred opposite Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat in John Woo's popular gangster movie A Better Tomorrow. Cheung starred in the acclaimed 1993 film Farewell My Concubine, which scooped a series of awards, including the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to Concubine, Cheung played gay roles in the popular films He's a Woman, She's a Man and Wong Kar Wai's Happy Together.