Beijing, Jul 6 (EFE) – Hong Kong-American singer Coco Lee, the only Chinese artist to have performed at the Oscars ceremony, died Wednesday in a Hong Kong hospital from self-inflicted injuries following an attempted suicide, her family said. She was 48.
Lee’s sisters, Carol and Nancy, wrote on social media platforms Instagram and Facebook that the performer had suffered from depression for several years, adding that she tried to commit suicide Sunday and had remained in a coma since then.
“With great sadness, we are here to 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 publication read. It added that although Coco sought professional help and did her best to fight depression, sadly that “demon inside of her took the better of her.”
“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 family said.
Lee was both the first Chinese artist to sign a worldwide contract with giant Sony Music and the first – and so far only – to perform at the Oscar ceremony, where in 2000 she sang the song “A Love Before Time” from the film “Tiger and Dragon,” by Ang Lee.
Coco Lee’s death caused commotion in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan, where social media filled with comments from Internet users expressing their sadness and recalling her long and successful career.
The performer was born in Hong Kong in 1975, moved with her family to San Francisco, United States, aged 9 and returned in 1993 to participate in a television talent show in which she was a finalist, earning her first record deal.
She achieved her first regional success in 1994 with the release in Taiwan of a Chinese-language album called “Love From Now On,” and in 1999 she released her first English-language work, “Just No Other Way.”
Throughout her career Coco Lee, who also appeared as an actress in three films, released more than 15 albums that sold tens of millions of copies and her single !Do You Want My Love” reached number four on the US Billboard in December 1999.
Among the artists who influenced her style, the singer mentioned Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Madonna and Mariah Carey, with some of whom she even shared a stage.
Lee is survived by her two sisters, her husband Bruce Rockowitz and her two stepdaughters. EFE