Disney Star Coco Lee Takes Her Life at 48

Hong Kong singer voiced Mulan in Mandarin version of movie
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2023 1:10 AM CDT
Mulan Star Coco Lee Dead at 48
Coco Lee performs during a mini concert celebrating the opening of a new hotel in Hong Kong, Friday, August 19, 2005.   (AP/Kin Cheung, File)

Hong Kong singer-songwriter Coco Lee, who voiced Mulan in the Mandarin version of Disney's Mulan in 1998, died by suicide Wednesday. She was 48. Her sisters say Lee attempted suicide at home on Sunday and that despite efforts to save her, she fell into a coma and died at a hospital, TMZ reports. Born in Hong Kong, Lee attended middle and high school in San Francisco, and was crowned Miss Teen Chinatown in 1991. TMZ calls her "the first Chinese singer to go big in America."

Her hit "Do You Want My Love" reached No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Dance Breakout Chart in 1999, and she's also known for songs including "Di Da Di," "Yesterday's Love," and "Before I Fall in Love," which was featured in the Richard Gere-Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride in 1999, Entertainment Weekly reports. She sang "A Love Before Time" from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and when it was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2001 Academy Awards, she became the first Chinese-American singer to perform at the Oscars ceremony.

She was also Chanel's first Chinese ambassador, acted as a judge on several Chinese and Taiwanese reality TV singing competitions (as well as competed on and won one herself), and released 15 albums over her 30-year career. Her family, who says Lee battled depression for years, says she worked "tirelessly to open up a new world for Chinese singers in the international music scene, and she went all out to shine for the Chinese." (If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available by calling or texting the suicide prevention lifeline at 988.)

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