Thousands bid farewell to Cheung

HONG KONG: Thousands of sobbing fans and celebrities lined a Hong Kong street yesterday to bid a final farewell to Cantonese pop star and actor Leslie Cheung as his body was taken to be cremated. 

“Leslie! Leslie!” fans dressed in black shouted as the hearse, covered with white flowers, left a funeral home for a crematorium on Hong Kong island. 

Some mourners hugged and cried as scattered rain and grey skies added to the gloom. 

Many of the fans, from Hong Kong and abroad, were wearing face masks to ward off a deadly respiratory virus that has already killed over 100 people worldwide. 

“A Star Forever. Deepest Sympathy,” read a wreath from a group of medical staff.  

However, a doctor said he feared the large crowds surrounding the funeral would facilitate the spread of the virus. 

The flamboyant 46-year-old Cheung leapt out of a window of the Mandarin Oriental hotel on April 1, leaving behind a suicide note which newspapers said revealed emotional problems. 

His most recent movie Inner Senses was about a man who almost jumped from a building after being haunted by the ghost of his girlfriend. 

Cheung was one of the first Asian stars to be open about his homosexuality and played openly gay characters in films. He was best known globally for his part in the blockbuster Farewell My Concubine, where he played a homosexual Chinese opera singer – a role which closely mirrored his life. 


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