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Coco Lee

By NewsChina Updated Sept.1

News of pop icon Coco Lee’s death shocked the Chinese-speaking world. The singer-songwriter attempted suicide at her Hong Kong home on the evening of July 2 and passed away in hospital three days later. She was 48.  

Lee was best known for performing the Oscar-nominated song “A Love Before Time” from Ang Lee film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won nine Academy Awards in 2001. She also sang the song “Reflection” in the Mandarin version of the 1998 Disney film Mulan. A pop icon beloved across Asia, Lee released 20 albums that produced dozens of hits.  

Reports of Lee’s long bouts with depression starkly contrasted the optimistic and lighthearted personality she was known for among fans.  

Her death prompted extensive discussions about depression and mental health issues in China. Among them was smiling depression, which describes someone who, much like Lee did, masks their suffering with a smile.  

Many called for more public awareness of available treatments to curb the current social stigma surrounding depression, whose symptoms are often minimized and overlooked.