Coco Lee, the Chinese songstress who lent her vocals to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Disney's Mulan, died in Hong Kong on Wednesday. She was 48.
Lee's sisters, Carol and Nancy, confirmed the cause of death as suicide. According to their post, Lee attempted suicide at her home on Sunday, July 2, and died in the hospital on July 5. "Coco had been suffering from depression for a few years, but her condition deteriorated drastically over the last few months," her sisters wrote. "Although Coco sought professional help and did her best to fight depression, sadly that demon inside of her took the better of her."
Ferren "Coco" Lee was born on Jan. 17, 1975, in Hong Kong. Her mother relocated Lee and her sisters to San Francisco when Coco was 8, although a burgeoning career as a pop star brought Lee back to her homeland in the early '90s. The singer and songwriter released 18 studio albums across her career and rose to the top of the charts in Asia.
"In the past 29 years, she's won countless international acclaims with top selling songs and has left audience with an astounding impression of her excellent live performances," Lee's sisters wrote. "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. We are proud of her!"
In 1998, Disney tapped Lee to voice Mulan in the Mandarin version of the movie, for which she also recorded the theme song, "Reflection." Ming-Na Wen, the English-language voice of Mulan, reacted to news of her passing, writing, "What a horrible loss for our #Mulan family. She was a tremendous talent. Beautiful and vivacious. RIP, Coco."
Lee is perhaps best remembered for singing "A Love Before Time," from Ang Lee's martial arts masterpiece, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The film earned 10 Oscar nominations in 2001, including Best Original Song for "A Love Before Time" composers Jorge Calandrelli and Tan Dun, and lyricist James Schamus. Lee performed the song live onstage during the 73rd Academy Awards. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon went on to win four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film.
In addition to her sisters, Lee is survived by her husband, Bruce Rockowitz, and two stepdaughters.