Singapore stars express shock and hurt after pop diva Coco Lee's sudden death

Lok Jian Wen
The Straits Times
July 6, 2023

Tributes have poured in for Hong Kong-born singer Coco Lee after her death was confirmed by her sisters on Wednesday, with many singers who had shared the stage with her and fans revealing their shock and pain at the news.

The 48-year-old died in a Hong Kong hospital on Wednesday following a suicide attempt at her home over the weekend, her family said in a statement.

Singapore’s JJ Lin expressed his hurt from losing a “dear friend”.

“I wish life could have been gentler on your soul. The world has lost one of the most iconic performers and artistes of all time,” he wrote on Facebook, accompanied by a photo of him and Lee attending a tennis match.

It hurts. Really hurts to lose a dear friend. I wish life could have been gentler on your soul. The world has lost one...

Posted by 林俊傑 JJ Lin on Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou posted a throwback to the last time the two of them performed together on stage in 2013, with a short caption “Dao Ma Dan forever” referencing the song he had composed for her.

Singapore singer Stefanie Sun shared some playful snaps taken with Lee, thanking her for “the best smiles and the best performances”.

Taiwanese songstress Angela Chang expressed her disbelief at Lee’s death on Weibo, writing: “I will always miss you.”

Selina Jen and Ella Chen, both members of Taiwanese girl group S.H.E, also paid tribute to Lee.

Jen, who previously proclaimed Lee as her inspiration in the group’s own steps towards stardom when they won a singing competition with Lee’s song Reflection, said Lee will always be her idol, adding that she was so lucky to have met and embraced her.

Chen expressed her disbelief at Lee’s “decision”, with reference to her attempted suicide. “As radiant as your smile was, that’s how heartbroken you have left us,” she wrote on Instagram. “Hoping you will have no more illness and pain... no more worries.”

Known for her high-energy dance performances, Lee previously revealed that she was born with a defect in her left leg. In March, she posted on social media that she had to learn to walk again after undergoing a major leg surgery.

Taiwanese actress Shu Qi offered her concise hope on Weibo, “wishing there is no pain in heaven“.

Lee had been diagnosed with depression years earlier, having experienced marital problems in her union with Canadian billionaire businessman Bruce Rockowitz.

The pair were rumoured to have separated, although Lee never addressed the speculation.

“2023 marks the 30th anniversary of Coco’s singing career... Coco is also known to have 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,” Lee’s two elder sisters Carol and Nancy said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are proud of her!”

Rest in peace sweet Coco. Thank you for the best smiles and the best performances. We all feel this loss keenly and wish the family peace and strength during this time.

Posted by 孫燕姿 Sun Yanzi on Wednesday, July 5, 2023

After news of Lee’s death broke on Wednesday, her fans flooded to her Weibo account, leaving comments expressing their doubt in this age of “fake news”.

“Post something quickly to show it’s not real,” one fan wrote.

Lee’s last post on Weibo in May announcing a new song release had hinted at an imminent comeback performance after her hospitalisation months earlier.

A 40-second audio clip ostensibly from Lee was also circulated by her fans on Sunday, the day she attempted suicide. Speaking in Mandarin then English in the clip, Lee thanked her fans for having her back, promising to continue working hard before wishing them happiness and good health.

Her fans on Weibo have taken it as her farewell message and last words to her supporters, with one fan writing that Lee had “broken her promise” to return to the stage. Another lamented that they “hoped the winter in her heart had passed” and prayed that “there was no depression in heaven”.


Mental well-being

  • Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)

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  • Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

  • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928

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  • Community Health Assessment Team 6493-6500/1 


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