PETALING JAYA: Datuk Kee Hua Chee (pic), a society and lifestyle writer who was a flamboyant fixture in the Malaysian fashion scene for more than 30 years, died of pneumonia near Kota Baru yesterday.
The Kelantanese, in his 60s, began his journalistic career in the 1970s and was also a contributor to The Star.
He went on to be a freelance writer for several well-known publications.
A larger-than-life character known for his quirky fashion sense and wit, Kee knew how to make an impact with his mere presence.
But if there is one thing he was known for, it is for being a wonderful friend.
Stylo International founder and president Datuk Nancy Yeoh was devastated by his passing.
She said Kee, who recently lost his father, had gone home to see his mother in Kota Baru.
“He was an only child and doted on his mum. She has dementia and he was stressed about his mum’s condition,” she said.
Yeoh said that on the last day of his visit before he was supposed to return to Kuala Lumpur, Kee had a fall and was admitted to hospital.
“He had diabetes, and it led to pneumonia and he went into a coma for a few days.
“He regained consciousness later and seemed better,” she added.
Yeoh said he called her and some friends and they thought it was better to move him back to Kuala Lumpur, where he was based.
However, on the way, his oxygen level dropped and the ambulance then sent him to Hospital Kuala Krai, where he died.
Yeoh said she and her friends went to see him when they heard from the nurses on Wednesday that he could not talk anymore.
“We spoke to him while he was in a coma. Then he passed away,” she said.
Yeoh said Kee was a fantastic friend.
“I really loved him. He was also the godfather to my son,” she added.
Another close friend, actress Datuk Nancie Foo, cried as she recalled her memories with Kee.
“I’m feeling so heavy-hearted because I couldn’t see him as I was travelling,” she said.
Foo said they first met when he had just graduated from Universiti Malaya.
“I was his first friend in the fashion world. We met during a photo shoot. We did several photo shoots, and that’s how we became friends,” she said.
She said he was cheerful and always made everyone laugh.
“He was unique in the world with his crazy jokes and imagination. We painted the town red together,” said Foo, who last saw Kee earlier in the year at a movie premiere.
Datuk Dr Wenddi Anne Chong, the co-founder of Tropicana Medical Centre (now Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara), described Kee as a “glamorous celebrity journalist”.
“But he was more than that to me ... he was a great friend and a brother.
“He was funny, nice and a lot of fun,” she said.
Dr Chong said that when she visited Kee at the hospital, he was already very weak and spoke softly.
“During that visit, he requested my better half (Kim Goo) clip his toenails and wipe his back.
“He also asked us to bring him his favourite San Pellegrino water, and later told us he was happy and grateful to have us as his true brother and sister,” she said.
Kee’s funeral will be held in Kelantan. He will be buried alongside his father.
The date for a memoriam will be announced later.