HONG KONG: The first word in his suicide note that Canto-pop superstar Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing wrote on a hotel notepad was depression.
The note in Chinese, found in his coat pocket by a policeman, stated:
Depression! Thank you to the fans. Thank you to Prof Mike (his psychiatrist). It has been a year of suffering. Thank you Mr Tong (his companion), Thank you Fei Che (Lydia Sum Tin Ha). In my life I have done nothing wrong. Why it has to be like this?
Radio stations on hearing about his death on Tuesday night started playing his songs and invited fans and friends to call up to share their thoughts on the artiste.
Most Chinese newspapers here relegated stories on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak to the second lead on their front pages and used Cheungs suicide as the main story.
Cheung had obtained big brother status here and was often referred to as Kor Kor by younger artistes and even reporters.
The Apple Daily ran a four-page special that included the last few hours of Cheungs life and speculation on what prompted him to take his life.
The favourite theory in newspapers and among the public is that Cheung was disturbed by a ghost or evil spirit that was invoked when the movie Inner Senses was being filmed.
The movie is a horror-flick in which Cheung played a psychiatrist and ghost-buster trying to cure a suicidal woman who has visions of the netherworld.
It was reported that soon after filming the movie last year, Cheung sank into a depression and was said to have sought psychiatric treatment.
His co-star in the movie, Waise Lee, told RTHK that Cheung became a changed man after the movie.
Cheung started to lose weight and pulled out of Taiwanese film producer Hsu Fengs movie Beautiful Shanghai in October.
A well-known party-goer, Cheung went into seclusion and was seldom seen at social events.
Another theory is that Cheung a known homosexual, although he called himself a bisexual was broken-hearted. Rumour had it that he had broken up with his long-time partner, known only as Mr Tong.
According to eyewitnesses, Cheung went to a café on the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Connaught Road in the Central district here at about 4pm.
A regular there, he ordered an iced lemon drink, a glass of ice water, an apple and a packet of cigarettes.
Waiters recalled that Cheung, dressed in an elegant suit, seemed restless and kept walking all over the café.
About an hour later, he walked out to the balcony where he asked waiters to set up a table for him. He then asked for a pen and a piece of paper on which he wrote his suicide note.
Cheung then plunged from the balcony and was found on the busy Connaught Road at 6.41pm.
He was rushed to the Queen Mary Hospital where, at 7.06 pm, he was certified dead.
Fellow Canto-pop superstar Alan Tam Wing Lun said he was devastated by Cheungs death, adding that despite their professional rivalry, they were best of friends.
Cheung was nominated in the Best Actor category for his role in Inner Senses at this weekends Hong Kong Film Awards.
Following his death, there is now doubt whether the ceremony will go on.
n Farewell Leslie See Star Two
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