Bruce Lee poured himself into the whole lot he did. When he found martial arts, he dedicated to a health regime 100 %, avoiding consuming and smoking, plus taking vitamin dietary supplements — and even drinking raw hamburger meat to construct the right tone. When he discovered performing and wasn’t discovering success within the United States, he moved to Hong Kong to determine his field workplace energy to draw curiosity again dwelling.
With that type of dedication and management, his sudden death on July 20, 1973, in Hong Kong, at age 32 wasn’t simply stunning — it was incomprehensible.
Initial investigations to find out the causes of his loss of life had been inconclusive and pathologists had been flown in from world wide. “He was offered a prescription painkiller called Equagesic. After taking the pill, he went to lie down and lapsed into a coma. He was unable to be revived,” states BruceLee.com, run by The Bruce Lee Family Company. “The determination was that Bruce had a hypersensitive reaction to an ingredient in the pain medication that caused a swelling of the fluid on the brain, resulting in a coma and death.”
Often known as cerebral edema, the seemingly conclusive trigger nonetheless comes underneath query to today — greater than 4 a long time after his loss of life — with wide-ranging theories. Some consider he was killed by Chinese gangsters, others say that he was poisoned and nonetheless others say he died whereas within the act with a mistress. Other theories even declare it was voodoo or a household curse.
Lee was weeks away from the premiere of his first main American film
Bruce Jun Fan Lee (or Lee Siu Loong in Cantonese) was born in San Francisco on November 27, 1940 — within the 12 months of the Dragon and the hour of the Dragon (between 6 and eight a.m). Raised in Hong Kong, he was a toddler actor in about 20 movies and began finding out wing chun gung fu at 13.
Returning again to the United States at 18, he studied philosophy on the University of Washington whereas instructing gung fu and finally opened his personal college, the Jung Fan Gung Fu Institute, with areas in Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles. He additionally grew to become a household man, marrying Linda (now Linda Lee Cadwell) and elevating son Brandon and daughter Shannon.
Soon showbiz got here calling, as he landed the position of the sidekick Kato on the 1966 TV collection Green Hornet. When the present was canceled the next 12 months, Hollywood jobs had been exhausting to snag, so he went again to Hong Kong and made three movies: The Big Boss in 1971 and Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon in 1972. With the mega-success of his films within the field workplace overseas, the American market lastly understood his promoting energy.
In the autumn of 1972, he was filming Game of Death when Warner Bros. stepped in, providing to make a joint manufacturing, the first-ever between Hollywood and Hong Kong. So filming was paused and as a substitute, he centered on Enter the Dragon, set for launch with all of the Hollywood fanfare at a premiere at Hollywood’s Chinese Theater in August 1973.
But he by no means made it to his huge debut.
Initial studies mentioned he died from a mind edema presumably brought on by ‘drug intoxication or sensitivity’
The initial Associated Press report on July 20 from Hong Kong mentioned that he died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital “after having been found unconscious in his home here.” It additionally famous: “Police sources said foul play was not suspected but that an autopsy would be performed.”
A month later, on September 3, another AP report got here out citing the trigger: “Bruce Lee, a star of kung‐fu movies, probably died of brain edema, an excess of fluid, that might have been caused by marijuana, a coroner reported today.”
At that time, even the coroner, C. Okay. E. Tung, hadn’t discovered what induced the edema, however famous the traces of marijuana residue in his physique — and raised that the situation could have been spurred by “drug intoxication or sensitivity.”
None of it tracked. Here was somebody who paid such consideration to the whole lot he put in his physique. How may a ache killer or marijuana take his life so abruptly?
As it turned out, he did have a historical past, just some weeks prior. After affected by complications and seizures, he was taken to a hospital in May 1973 and informed he had cerebral edema. Unconscious at one level, he was later flown to the UCLA Medical Center, in line with Newsweek, the place they discovered he had a “grand mal seizure.” According to Matthew Polly, who wrote Bruce Lee: A Life, he was launched when the swelling cleared. And that’s when he made the fateful journey to Hong Kong.
He died on the dwelling of a Taiwanese actress
One of the primary details that began throwing suspicion on the cerebral edema rationalization was that it was quickly decided his loss of life didn’t happen at his own residence, however moderately at that of Taiwanese actress Betty Ting Pei at 67 Beacon Hill Road.
Lee reportedly had spent the morning in talks in regards to the fatefully titled Game of Death. He had a little bit of hash since he “believed cannabis expanded his consciousness” after which headed over to Ting Pei’s dwelling. “I was his girlfriend,” the actress informed Polly in Bruce Lee: A Life, including that there was some intercourse and hash whereas they had been alone.
The particulars then spin uncontrolled. Some say he was as a consequence of meet Game of Death producer Raymond Chow and by no means made it, whereas others say Chow confirmed up at Ting Pei’s condominium round 6 p.m.
However, that bit transpired, Chow was undoubtedly within the image. “Bruce wasn’t feeling very properly,” Chow informed Polly for the ebook. “I think we had some water.”
Chow then mentioned that the overly dedicated Lee received into full character as they had been discussing the film. “He acted out the entire thing. So, that most likely made him slightly drained and thirsty. After just a few sips, he appeared to be slightly dizzy.”
Supposedly, that’s when Ting Pei gave him the Equagesic and he went to lie down. And he by no means received up once more.
Ting Pei’s private physician was known as to revive Lee and an ambulance was requested to take Lee to a hospital 25-minutes away
While that account of the occasions tracks, it additionally raises extra questions. Apparently he had taken the ache killer earlier than. But the September 1973 report mentioned that perhaps he had a “hypersensitivity” to it.
Others say it was “cannabis intoxication,” although there doesn’t tend to be a link between cannabis and brain edemas. The medical professionals who had handled him in May had warned him about hash. “We told him that his very low percentage of body fat could make him vulnerable to drugs,” Dr. Peter Wu mentioned within the ebook The Tao of Bruce Lee. “Since he’d already had a very bad time with the drug, we told him that the effects were likely to be worse next time.”
According to Polly’s ebook, Chow had realized how unhealthy it could search for Lee to be present in Ting Pei’s condominium with simply the 2 of them, so he began to decorate Lee so they may transfer the physique. Ultimately, they determined to name Ting Pei’s physician, Dr. Eugene Chu Poh-hwye, to return to her condominium. He tried to revive him, nevertheless it was no use. The star was lifeless.
Still, they realized they needed to get Lee’s physique to a hospital. So they known as for an ambulance however requested it to go to the additional Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a 25-minute drive, moderately than Dr. Chu’s personal close by hospital.
That additionally gave Chow time to name Lee’s spouse, Linda, to fulfill him on the hospital since “something like last time” occurred.
But it’s these fast selections that deliver up lots of the questions.
The hospital thought ‘someone have to be joking’
Linda received to the hospital first and since nobody had given the hospital a heads up in regards to the id of the incoming affected person, they thought it needed to be a ruse.
“Somebody must be joking — we don’t know anything about it,” the entrance desk employee informed her. But simply as she was about to name dwelling, she noticed her husband being wheeled by. “It never occurred to me that he might die, let alone that he might already be dead,” she mentioned within the Polly ebook, according to The Ringer.
Not lengthy after, she was given the tragic information. He was lifeless. But at that time, he could have already been lifeless for some time.
A false assertion about how Lee died was launched
Since Lee’s three movies had carried out so properly in Hong Kong, he was a megastar there and the press descended on the hospital.
Early theories began creeping up: Did he die in a combat? Was he crushed by a gaggle within the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood? The questions had been all over.
So Chow’s manufacturing firm put out an official assertion: “Bruce Lee collapsed at his home while walking in his garden with his wife, Linda. Golden Harvest mourns the loss of a great star,” according to Polly’s book.
The hospital additionally issued a launch, pointing at cerebral edema. The causes for these accounts appeared simply: They wished to guard Lee’s younger youngsters.
While rumors went rampant, the coroner known as it a ‘loss of life by misadventure’
While the cover-up labored at first, the press was steadfast. One reporter found out that the tackle of the ambulance pick-up was Ting Pei’s condominium. She was questioned, however caught to the fabricated story, opening up extra mysteries.
Chow and Linda had been dedicated to shielding the kids from the reality and got here up with a brand new timeline and order of occasions that made Lee’s go to to Ting Pei’s place a enterprise assembly to attempt to recruit her for Game of Death. Working out the play by play, all of it appeared to line up. And for the larger half of some a long time, that remained the story.
Still, theories had been examined. One story was that Lee died with an erection — and a Hong Kong photographer truly managed to bribe a morgue employee to take footage of the corpse to see if it was true. While he received an image of his face, she stopped him earlier than he received any decrease. But then the images of his face began a brand new principle: He was poisoned since his face was so bloated.
Then in 2006, a report in Taipei Times mentioned it was an unknown epileptic situation. But in Polly’s 2018 ebook, he offers yet another explanation: a heatstroke. It was 90 levels and humid that July day and reportedly Lee had his armpit sweat glands eliminated so he wouldn’t look so sweaty on digicam. That matched up with the May incident since he had been in a scorching room with none circulation.
Every rationalization appeared to have a component of believability. Yet one coroner maybe put it greatest when he called it a “death by misadventure.”
Lee’s son additionally tragically died at a younger age
From the beginning, the household accepted the medical rationalization for the tragedy. “Although we do not have the final autopsy report, I have no suspicion of anything other than natural death,” Linda acknowledged on the time. “I myself do not hold any person or people responsible for his death. Fate has ways we cannot change. The only thing of importance is that Bruce is gone and will not return.” She additionally wrote three books about Lee — that are seemingly now out of print — however the household by no means wavered from their fact.
In a 1992 Australian interview, son Brandon chalked all of the theories as much as his father’s legendary standing: “I believe that’s perhaps why the rumors, which to me, that are on the extent of individuals nonetheless speaking about Elvis nonetheless being alive I believe that’s maybe why so a lot of these rumors sprung up — he was solely 32.”
Eerily, a 12 months after Brandon’s interview, he was tragically shot dead on the set of The Crow, on the age of 28, proving that maybe the household curse was the truest of all of the theories. And identical to along with his father, theories also started circulating about Brandon’s loss of life.
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