HONG KONG (AP) — Fans of singer and songwriter Coco Lee, who was known for her powerful voice and live performances, were gathering with flowers to pay their respects to their idol at her funeral in Hong Kong on Monday.
The evening services were expected to be attended by her family, friends and supporters. Lee died July 5 at age 48.
She was born in Hong Kong and attended school in San Francisco before releasing her first album in 1994 at age 19. She began her career as a Mandopop singer but branched out to release albums in Cantonese and English.
She was the first Chinese singer to break into the American market, and her English song “Do You Want My Love” climbed to #4 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Breakouts chart in December 1999. In 2001, she sang “A Love Before Time” from Ang Lee’s movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” at the Academy Awards, becoming the first Chinese American to perform at the Oscars.
Lee was also the voice of heroine Fa Mulan in the Mandarin version of Disney’s “Mulan,” and sang the Mandarin version of the movie’s theme song “Reflection.”
Lee was married to Bruce Rockowitz, former CEO of Hong Kong supply chain company Li & Fung. She had two stepdaughters.
He death had shocked fans. Her siblings posted on Facebook that she had depression for years and had attempted suicide at home on July 2. She died a few days later.
In Lee’s recent social media posts, she kept spreading positivity. In March, she posted about having to relearn how to walk after undergoing surgery for an old leg injury.
“Successful surgery. Even though I’m in a lot of pain and I have to re-learn how to walk again, I know I can do it,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Yes I can and I will!”