Coco Lee, a Chinese American singer and songwriter renowned for her performance of an Academy Award-nominated song in the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” passed away at the age of 48 in a Hong Kong hospital on Wednesday.

Her sisters, Carol and Nancy Lee, stated that the cause of death was suicide, as Coco had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday after a suicide attempt at her residence.

“With great sadness, we are here to break the most devastating news: CoCo had been suffering from depression for a few years but her condition deteriorated drastically over the last few months. Although CoCo sought professional help and did her best to fight depression, sadly that demon inside of her took the better of her,” the Lee sisters wrote on Instagram

Coco Lee’s Career And Achievements

Raised in San Francisco, California, Coco Lee began her musical journey at a young age, participating in school performances and local talent shows. Her exceptional vocal range and stage presence quickly set her apart. In 1993, Coco Lee caught the attention of music producer Quincy Jones, who signed her to his label, Qwest Records. This marked the beginning of her professional music career.

Coco Lee's Career And Achievements

Coco Lee’s breakthrough came with her Mandarin debut album, “Love from Now On” (1994). The album’s success propelled her to stardom in the Chinese-speaking world. Her subsequent albums, such as “Promise” (1996) and “Sincere” (1999), further solidified her position as a leading Chinese pop artist. Coco Lee’s ability to effortlessly switch between Mandarin, Cantonese, and English showcased her versatility and appealed to a broad audience.

Coco Lee's Career And Achievements

Coco Lee did not have a direct role in the Disney animated film “Mulan” released in 1998. However, she did contribute to the film’s Mandarin soundtrack by singing the Chinese version of the theme song “Reflection,” titled “Ming Yue Ting Feng.”

Coco Lee’s rendition of the song added to the cultural authenticity of the film and showcased her vocal talent to a wider audience. Her involvement in the Mandarin version of the “Mulan” soundtrack further solidified her reputation as a prominent Chinese American singer.

In 2000, Coco Lee reached a significant milestone in her career when she performed the theme song “A Love Before Time” for the critically acclaimed film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” The song received international acclaim and earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. This achievement marked Coco Lee as the first Chinese American to be nominated for an Oscar.

Coco Lee is the first and only Chinese American to be no noinated for an Oscar.

With her talent transcending borders, Coco Lee began to explore opportunities in the Western music industry. She released her first English-language album, “Just No Other Way,” in 1999. The album’s lead single, “Do You Want My Love,” achieved moderate success on the Billboard charts and showcased Coco Lee’s ability to adapt her style to different genres.

Throughout her career, Coco Lee collaborated with numerous renowned artists, including Lionel Richie, Julio Iglesias, and Leehom Wang, among others. Her cross-cultural collaborations and performances allowed her to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western music, earning her recognition and respect in both markets.

Beyond her musical achievements, Coco Lee was known for her philanthropic efforts. She actively supported various charitable causes, including disaster relief efforts and organizations focused on education and children’s welfare. Her dedication to giving back to the community showcased her compassionate nature and desire to make a positive impact.

Coco Lee’s contributions to the world of music, her ability to bridge cultures, and her philanthropic endeavors will be remembered as part of her enduring legacy.

CoCo Lee is survived by her mother, her spouse Bruce Rockowitz, a Canadian entrepreneur and former CEO of Li & Fung, a supply chain company in Hong Kong, along with two stepdaughters.

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