Coco Lee, a talented singer and songwriter from Hong Kong who achieved international success, has tragically passed away at the age of 48. Her siblings revealed that Coco took her own life after battling depression for several years, with her condition deteriorating significantly in recent months.
Despite seeking professional help and putting up a brave fight against depression, Coco’s inner demons overwhelmed her, as stated in a heartfelt message posted by her elder sisters, Carol and Nancy Lee, on social media.
Over the weekend, Coco attempted suicide at her home and was immediately rushed to the hospital. Sadly, she fell into a coma and passed away on Wednesday, leaving behind a void in the music industry and the hearts of her loved ones.
Coco Lee, originally named Ferren Lee and hailing from Hong Kong, relocated to the United States during her youth. She spent her middle and high school years in San Francisco. It was during this time that Coco’s passion for singing began to take shape, eventually leading her to embark on a remarkable career in the music industry. Her journey commenced after she achieved the esteemed title of first runner-up in a renowned annual singing competition organized by TVB, a prominent broadcaster in Hong Kong.At the youthful age of 19, Coco Lee made her debut in the music industry by releasing her first album in 1994. This marked the beginning of her remarkable journey as a singer-songwriter, showcasing her immense talent and paving the way for her subsequent achievements.
While Coco initially rose to fame as a Mandopop singer, her artistic versatility shone through as she expanded her musical repertoire over her illustrious three-decade-long career. She ventured into creating albums in Cantonese and English, showcasing her talent and adaptability to different languages and genres. This artistic evolution contributed to Coco’s enduring legacy as a multifaceted and internationally acclaimed artist. She was renowned for her powerful voice and captivating live performances.
Coco Lee was not only celebrated for her musical achievements but also for her efforts to promote Chinese artists on the international stage. She tirelessly worked to open doors for Chinese singers in the global music scene, becoming a proud symbol of success for the Chinese community.
Furthermore, she made history as the first Chinese singer to break into the American market. In December 1999, Coco’s English track titled “Do You Want My Love” achieved an impressive feat by reaching the fourth position on Billboard’s Hot Dance Breakouts chart. This milestone demonstrated Coco’s ability to captivate audiences beyond language barriers and solidified her presence in the global music scene.Coco also lent her voice to the Mandarin version of Disney’s “Mulan,” portraying the heroine Fa Mulan and singing the Mandarin version of the film’s theme song, “Reflection.”
In 2011, Coco Lee entered into matrimony with Bruce Rockowitz, a Canadian businessman who had formerly held the position of CEO at Hong Kong’s Li & Fung supply chain company. Despite not having children biologically, Coco wholeheartedly embraced her role as a stepmother to Bruce’s two daughters. Her dedication to her blended family showcased her love, warmth, and commitment to nurturing strong familial bonds.
In her final Instagram post dated December 31, 2022, Coco shared heartfelt reflections alongside images of herself, including tattoos displaying the words “love” and “faith.” She expressed the significance of these words in her life, as they provided strength during the challenging year she had experienced.
Coco’s resilience and determination were evident in her attitude, which she described as that of a fearless “female warrior” ready to confront any adversity head-on. Earlier in March, she underwent surgery for a previous leg injury that had been aggravated during a dance practice in October 2022. Despite the pain and the need to relearn how to walk, Coco remained optimistic, stating, “Yes, I can and I will!”
Fellow Mandopop singer-songwriter Wang Leehom paid tribute to Coco in an Instagram post, describing her as the “biggest star” whom everyone desired to collaborate with. He acknowledged her groundbreaking achievements in breaking down international barriers as a Chinese singer, and emphasized her legacy as a courageous pioneer and a significant musical legend.
Jolin Tsai, a Taiwanese singer, also mourned Coco’s passing in a heartfelt Facebook message, expressing that her bright smile would forever be remembered.
Coco Lee’s untimely departure is a tremendous loss to the music industry, leaving behind a legacy of remarkable talent, resilience, and a trailblazing spirit. Her contributions will be cherished, and her music will continue to inspire future generations. May she rest in peace.