Coco Lee, a Hong Kong-born American pop singer known in Asia for her diva riffs and as the Mandarin voice of Disney’s “Mulan,” died Wednesday, according to her family. In recent years, the 48-year-old had battled from depression.
“However, her condition has deteriorated dramatically over the last few months,” sisters Carol Lee and Nancy Lee wrote on Instagram. She was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after attempting suicide, according to authorities.
“Despite the hospital team’s best efforts to rescue and treat her from her coma, she died on July 5, 2023.” Lee, who was born on January 17, 1975, in British-ruled Hong Kong, rose to notoriety in the 1990s for her powerful voice, crescendoing vocal riffs, and soulful ballads.
Lee’s ability to communicate in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English allowed her to gain fans not only in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Taiwan, but also in Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, as well as in Australia.
She sung the Mandarin version of the 1998 Disney film “Mulan” ballad “Reflection,” and sang “A Love Before Time” for the soundtrack of Ang Lee’s martial arts blockbuster “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” According to Warner Music China, she was the first singer of Chinese origin to perform the Best Original Song-nominated piece at the 2001 Academy Awards, making her the first vocalist of Chinese descent to grace the Oscars stage. Lee released her first complete English-language album, “Just No Other Way,” in 1999, which had additional R&B-influenced songs including “Do You Want My Love.”