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In Pictures: Remembering Hong Kong’s Leslie Cheung – actor and Cantopop superstar

On April 1, 2003, superstar Leslie Cheung jumped to his death from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong. He left behind a suicide note, stating that he had been suffering from depression. He was 46 years old.

Like many superstars at the time, Cheung had both a remarkable music and acting career, and was affectionately known to many Hongkongers as “Gor gor.”

Leslie Cheung death

Hong Kong’s king of pop, singer Leslie Cheung sings during his solo concert at Shanghai Stadium late 16 September 2000. Photo: Liu Jin/AFP.

The incident sent shockwaves through the Hong Kong community, which was devastated by the loss of one of the city’s most beloved talents – especially at a time when morale was already at an all time low owing to the SARS outbreak.

Leslie Cheung death

A fan of Canto-pop singer and actor Leslie Cheung places flowers and a message outside the Mandarin Hotel in Central business district 2 April 2003, where Cheung jumped to his death from the 24th floor of the hotel the night before. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP.

Cheung left behind countless “gold songs” which are still played on the airwaves in Hong Kong today, including “Monica”, “Wild Wind”, “Silence is Golden”, “Closer” and many more.

Leslie Cheung waxwork

Entertainer Leslie Cheung’s waxwork is unveiled at Madame Tussaud waxworks in Hong Kong, 31 March 2004. Photo: Mike Clarke/AFP.

Cheung had been close friends with Anita Mui, who starred alongside him in Behind the Yellow Line (1984) and Rouge (1987). Mui died months after Cheung’s suicide, following a battle with cancer. Both had been known for their androgynous image, and Cheung was also one of the only bisexual stars in Hong Kong.

Leslie Cheung death

South Korean Buddhist fans shed tears during a memorial for canto pop singer and actor Leslie Cheung at the Bongun Temple in Seoul, 28 March 2004. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP.

Cheung starred in a number of Wong Kar-wai films, including Days of Being Wild (1991), Ashes of Time (1994) and Happy Together (1997). The roles won him Best Actor awards and nominations in Hong Kong Film Awards, Golden Horse Awards, and Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

Leslie Cheung shrine

A woman visits a memorial shrine to the late Hong Kong film star and singer, 1 April 2004. Photo: Samantha Sin/AFP.

However, he is perhaps best remembered for his role as Cheng Dieyi in Farewell My Concubine (1993), which is the only Chinese-language film to win the Cannes Palme d’Or. Cheung also received a Best Actor nomination at the film festival.

Leslie Cheung death

Fans hold lighted candles next to a portrait of actor and singer Leslie Cheung as they commemorate his first death anniversary outside the Jardine House in Hong Kong, 1 April, 2004. Photo: Samantha Sin/AFP.

Last September 12, the date which would have been Cheung’s 60th birthday, over a thousand fans gathered in prayer at Po Fook Hill Ancestral Hall. Cheung’s fan club organised a 60th birthday party in the evening at the Central Harbourfront, playing concert clips and songs to commemorate his passing.

Leslie Cheung

People react during a candle light vigil for the late Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, opposite to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, during a remembrance on the 10th anniversary of his death, in Hong Kong on April 1, 2013. Photo: Antony Dickson/AFP.

Every year, fans from all over the world still gather outside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in his memory.

In Pictures: Remembering Hong Kong's Leslie Cheung - actor and Cantopop superstar