Iconic Singer Coco Lee Dies at 48: Remembering Her Legacy in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Mulan’

According to a Facebook post by her sisters, Coco Lee, the singer-songwriter from Hong Kong, tragically passed away on Wednesday. It was revealed that she had made an attempt on her own life over the weekend.

coco lee

Coco Lee’s remarkable career included notable achievements such as singing the Mandarin version of the theme song “Reflection” for the 1998 Disney film Mulan. Additionally, she made history as the first Chinese American to perform at the Oscars, captivating the audience with her rendition of the Best Original Song-nominated “A Love Before Time” from Ang Lee’s acclaimed movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

In a heartbreaking Facebook post, Lee’s sisters, Carol and Nancy, shared the devastating news that Coco had been in a coma since her suicide attempt over the weekend. They expressed profound sadness as they revealed that Coco had been battling depression for several years, but her condition had worsened significantly in recent months. The post painted a poignant picture of the challenges she had faced, leaving her loved ones and fans mourning the tragic turn of events.

The Sisters said that on July 2, she had attempted suicide at home and had been shifted to hospital, where she had remained in coma until her death.

Lee was born in Hong Kong in 1975, then moved to the U.S. where she attended middle school and high school, before set to a successful career in Asia as a pop singer. Initially a Mando-pop singer, she also released albums in Cantonese and English over her 30-year career.

During the year 2001, Lee had the opportunity to lend her voice to “A Love Before Time,” the end-credit title song of the renowned film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This captivating song, composed by Jorge Callandelli and Tan Dun, with lyrics by James Schamus, garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Original Song. Lee delivered a mesmerizing performance of the song at the prestigious awards ceremony, showcasing her exceptional talent and leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

In addition to her musical accomplishments, Lee showcased her versatility by taking on acting roles in three notable films. She appeared in Stanley Kwan’s No Tobacco (2002), Lee Xin’s Master of Everything (2004), and He Jiong’s Forever Young (2015). Moreover, she appeared on the television screens as a judge on popular mainland Chinese talent shows, including Chinese Idol and Come Sing With Me. Lee’s involvement in both the film industry and talent shows further highlighted her multi-faceted talent and her dedication to the arts.

In 2011, Lee married Canadian businessman Bruce Rockowitz, the former CEO of supply chain company Li & Fung, and had two stepdaughters from the marriage.

Lee said goodbye to this world on July 5, 2023.

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