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Subject: Leslie Cheung, 46, Pop Singer and Actor

Hong Kong
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Date Posted: April 02, 2003 4:24:03 EDT

Leslie Cheung, a pop singer and actor who won international acclaim for his portrayal of an opera star in the 1993 movie "Farewell, My Concubine," fell to his death today from a hotel here, local news organizations reported. He was 46.

A police spokeswoman refused to identify the dead man fully, saying only that a 46-year-old with the surname Cheung had died in hospital after falling from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Hotel.

Cable Television reported that Mr. Cheung had left a note saying he was suffering from emotional problems.

Mr. Cheung was one of Hong Kong's most popular performers, notable for being one of only a few Asian stars to play openly gay characters.

One of his most famous gay roles was in the 1997 movie "Happy Together," directed by Wong Kar-wai.

Mr. Cheung entered show business after returning to Hong Kong after studies at Leeds University in northern England.

He achieved success as a pop singer and enjoyed fame throughout Asia with his successful 1981 album "The Wind Blows On."

His success as a singer quickly paved the way for a career in film. Though he was to become noted for playing gay roles later in his career, Mr. Cheung made his breakthrough playing a rookie cop alongside Chow Yun-fat in John Woo's 1986 action movie "A Better Tomorrow."

Two years later he earned a reputation for romantic roles after playing an opium-smoking playboy in Stanley Kwan's "Rouge," one of the most successful films to emerge from Hong Kong during the 1980's.

Further collaborations with Mr. Woo followed with 1990's "Once A Thief," before Mr. Cheung teamed up the following year with Mr. Wong for "Days of Being Wild."

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