HONG KONG: Canto-pop superstar and actor Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing (pic) fell to his death from the sixth floor of a five-star hotel at the Central district in an apparent suicide here yesterday.
Cheung, 46, was found sprawled on the main Connaught Road just outside the hotel at 6.41pm. A note was also found on him. He was taken to the Queen Mary Hospital where he was declared dead.
According to sources, the note stated that he was sober and was troubled by “affairs of the heart.”
However, police here confirmed a man fell to his death and was found outside the hotel but refused to confirm the identity. They said the deceased was a man surnamed Cheung and was aged 46.
The youngest of 10 children to a famous tailor, Cheung was born in Hong Kong on Sept 12, 1956.
Influenced early on by both the film world, as his father was the tailor to actor William Holden (who was then here to film the movie The World of Suzie Wong), and his parents’ divorce, Cheung went on to study at England’s Leeds University.
After returning to Hong Kong, he jump-started his career by winning second prize in the 1976 ATV Asian Music Contest.
His status as a pop singer led the way to work on television, film, and the stage.
In 1981, Cheung became a bona fide star with the success of his album The Wind Blows On, which established him as Asia’s most popular singer.
It was not until 1986 that Cheung’s film career really gained momentum, when he was cast as a rookie cop and younger brother of Chow Yuen Fatt in John Woo’s famous gangster flick A Better Tomorrow.
The actor continued to work in a variety of films with some of the industry’s most respected directors throughout the 1990s.
In 1990, Cheung had decided to wrap up his career as a recording artist and immigrated to Canada but only to return later to continue his movie career.
Three years later, Cheung earned international acclaim and recognition for his performance as an opera star specialising in female roles in Chen Kaige’s landmark historical drama Farewell, My Concubine.
In 1997, Cheung starred in perhaps the most daring role of his career as the bitchy Ho Po-wing, one of a pair of gay Chinese lovers stranded in Buenos Aires in Happy Together opposite Tony Leung.
The film’s explicit sex scenes made it one of the most controversial movies of the year and one of the most acclaimed.
His homosexual roles also made him a target of gossip columnists who suggested that he was also gay in real life. This is something that he has always denied.
Related story:Cheung remembered by locals for his boyish looks