Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing (张国荣， 12 September 1956 – 1 April 2003) was a Hong Kong singer and actor. He is considered “one of the founding fathers of Cantopop” by “combining a hugely successful film and music career.
Though Cheung had never publicly declared his sexual orientation, he once said in a 2001 interview with Time magazine: “It’s more appropriate to say I’m bisexual. I’ve had girlfriends. When I was 22 or so, I asked my girlfriend Teresa Mo (毛舜筠) to marry me.”, but was unsuccessful He is also the only Hong Kong entertainer to admit their bisexuality.
Cheung and Ngai Sze-Pui (倪詩蓓), a Hong Kong model and actress whom he met on the set of Agency 24, were in a relationship for two years.
Cheung responded to the question regarding lover, “In terms of lover, I think I can be a better friend than a lover. Because I am a workaholic. To share my romance, that person has to compromise something.” This statement was out during the interview following the release of Okinawa Rendezvous.
Cheung was never married.
Cheung committed suicide on 1 April 2003 at 6:43 pm (HKT).He leapt from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, located in the Central district of Hong Kong Island. He left a suicide note saying that he had been suffering from depression. He was 46 years old.
As one of the most popular performers in Asia, Cheung’s death broke the hearts of millions of his fans across Asia and shocked the Asian entertainment industry and Chinese community worldwide. The day after Cheung’s death, his family confirmed that Cheung suffered from clinical depression and had been seeing psychiatrists for treatment for almost a year. They also revealed that Cheung had previously attempted suicide in 2002. Later at his funeral, Cheung’s niece disclosed that her uncle had severe clinical depression and suffered much over the past year (2003).
Despite the risk of infection from SARS and the WHO’s warning on travelling to Hong Kong, tens of thousands attended Cheung’s memorial service, which was held for the public, on 7 April 2003, including celebrities and other fans, many from other parts of the world such as mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, the United States, and Canada. Cheung’s funeral was on 8 April 2003. For almost a month, Cheung’s death dominated newspaper headlines in Hong Kong and his songs were constantly on the air. His final album, Everything Follows the Wind (一切隨風), was released three months after his death.
Cheung’s suicide note (translation):”Depression! Many thanks to all my friends. Many thanks to Professor Felice Lieh-Mak (麥列菲菲) (Cheung’s last psychiatrist). This year has been so tough. I can’t stand it anymore. Many thanks to Mr. Tong. Many thanks to my family. Many thanks to Sister Fei (沈殿霞). In my life I have done nothing bad. Why does it have to be like this?”