Hong Kong-born American pop singer Coco Lee, beloved in Asia for her music and as the voice of Disney’s Mulan in Mandarin, passed away on Wednesday, according to an announcement by her family.
The 48-year-old has suffered from depression for the past few years “but her condition has drastically worsened over the past few months,” sisters Carol Lee and Nancy Lee said in a post on Instagram.
She was hospitalized on Sunday after trying to take her own life.
“The hospital team tried in vain to save her and treat her in her coma. She died on 5 July 2023.”
Born on January 17, 1975 in Hong Kong, Lee grew up in California. She rose to fame in the 1990s with her strong voice, crescendo vocal choruses and soulful ballads.
She was fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. This helped her gain fans in China and Taiwan, but also in Singapore and Malaysia and even Australia.
She did the Mandarin version of the 1998 ballad “Reflection” from the Disney movie Mulan sang and recorded “A Love Before Time” as part of the soundtrack for an oriental martial arts movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragondirected by Ang Lee.
She sang the song nominated for Best Original Song at the 2001 Academy Awards. She was the first singer of Chinese descent to perform on the Oscars stage, according to Warner Music China.
Lee released her first full-length English-language album in 1999, Just No Other Way, published. The song “Before I Fall in Love” from this album was chosen as the theme song for Richard Gere and Julia Roberts’ movie, Runaway Bride.
In her last Instagram post, Lee shared photos of tattoos on her arms of the words “love” and “faith”. “My two favorite words that I hold in my heart and cling to desperately to get through this incredibly difficult year,” she wrote in the post on the last day of 2022.
“You are not alone, no matter how hard life gets, I am with you,” she wrote to her followers.
According to her sisters, 2023 was the “30th anniversary of Coco’s singing career”. “We are grateful that God gave us such a kind-hearted angel,” they wrote. “Although Coco was not in the world for long, her ray of light will live on forever.”