How did Bruce Lee die?
Let's put this straight. Much has been said about the way Bruce Lee died, most of it untrue. Despite all the fictional stories that have been told about his death, there is one thing that at least everyone can agree on; Bruce Lee was the most famous martial artist ever to have lived. What he did to promote martial arts and help people to learn how to defend themselves in a weaponless way can never be over estimated, not now and not in the future.
So lets start with the the official press release of Lee's death...
Bruce Lee died of a cerebral edema (an excess accumulation of water in the cellular spaces of the brain) - on the 20th July 1973. However, read on to find out how true this really was.
Cause of the cerebral edema - allergic reaction to painkillers called Equagesic (pictured) - a drug used for short-term pain treatment accompanied by tension or anxiety.
Fact or Fiction?
It was on the 20th July 1973 at approximately 16:00 that Bruce Lee and Raymond Chow (Hong Kong film producer) drove to the house of Betty Ting Pei, pictured right, located at Flat 2a, 67 Beacon Hill Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. She was a popular Taiwanese actress and they wanted her to play a part in Lee's next coming move, Game of Death.
At around 19:30 Bruce complained of having a headache. At this point, Betty gave him some of her pain killers (Equagesic) which she had been prescribed by a doctor. Bruce then went to lie down on her bed to help relieve the pain, at this point Raymond Chow left the apartment to meet George Lazenby at the Miramar Hotel. Bruce was supposed to join him to meet George too.
At around 21:00 Raymond called Betty to ask why Bruce still had not arrive at the hotel to discuss the Game of Death with George Lazenby. Betty explained she tried to wake him up but could not. This worried Raymond and therefore within 30 minutes he arrived back at the apartment and just like Betty, he could not wake Bruce up.
Being concerned Raymond decided to ring Betty Ting Pei’s doctor up, Dr. Eugene Chu. The telephone was constantly engaged but finally he got through to Dr. Chu. He immediately came to Betty’s apartment but after 10 minutes he still couldn’t wake Bruce up.
After calling Bettys doctor Dr. Eugene Chu. it was decided that this was an emergency and Bruce needed urgent medical care. Ambulances were called which took Bruce to Queen Elizabeth’s hospital
Upon arrival at the hospital with a team of doctors waiting for him, he was pronounced dead.
At 23:00 hrs Raymond Chow informed the world of the news (pictured).
Lee was only 32 years on his date of death. A funeral was held in Hong Kong and then his body was flown to the United States where he was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle. Since, his son Brandon was buried next to him.
Brandon Lee was accidently shot while filming. The crew were supposed to use dummy cartridges, but instead a real bullet was found to have been used. Brandons grave is show on the right of Bruce's.
There are many fictional stories of how Bruce Lee died, however this article is the official press release behind it. Whether these accounts are true or not is a huge question of debate which should be kept in mind.
There are opinions that differ regarding how exactly Bruce Lee died however the events that took place as published in this article are the most accepted view not only of Lee's family and close friends but also the general consensus of martial artists around the world. On any matter, people have different views and we welcome any comments below this article.
See Bruce Lee's profile, including a list of martial arts movies he appeared in / directed
A Tragic Family
Almost 20 years after Lee's death came another tragic event for the family. Under strange and unproven circumstances, his son, Brandon was killed aged only 28 years. A mystery still surrounds this sudden occurance which happened on set.
For more information see the Death of Brandon Lee to learn more about the events that unfolded that day, as well as what could have been done to prevent it.