Bruce Lee is an instantly recognizable name for fans of films and or Kung Fu. He found success in his native Hong Kong then caught the attention of American filmmakers. Bruce enjoyed a fruitful career for years but never got to watch his most successful project “Enter the Dragon”. He died suddenly at the age of 32 under mysterious circumstances. His official cause of death was cerebral edema, brought on by a reaction to a painkiller. Not all of his fans, friends and family accept this report and a range of other theories have been created since his death. Keep watching for the real Bruce Lee death story and the theories it spawned.
Bruce Lee’s Life and Career
Bruce Jun-fan Lee, whose Cantonese name was Lee Siu-Lung, was born in San Francisco on November 27, 1940. He was associated with dragons from a young age, being born in the year and hour of the dragon. Bruce starred as a child actor in 20 films during his childhood in Hong Kong. He also began studying Wing Chun Kung Fu at 13 while living there and became skilled in the art. Bruce and his family returned to the U.S when he was 18.
He studied philosophy at the University of Washington and taught Kung Fu, eventually, opening the Gung Fu Institute. Bruce devoted himself to a strict fitness regimen. He avoided drinking and smoking, took vitamin supplements and drank raw hamburger meat.
He was just as devoted to his acting career. His breakout American role was as Kato in the 1966 “Green Hornet” tv series. After it was canceled the next year, he failed to find further success in the U.S. So, he moved back to Hong Kong. This move was one of the best decisions he could have made for his career. He beat the record of the highest grossing film in history three times with “Karate to Death” in Bangkok in 1971, “Fist of Fury” in 1972 and “Way of the Dragon” in 1972. These films propelled him to idol status in Hong Kong and made the American market take notice of his talent once again.
In 1972, he was filming “Game of Death” when he suddenly got a call from Warner Bros. They offered him a role in the first joint production between Hollywood and Hong Kong. Bruce agreed and the now famous film “Enter the Dragon” was created and set to release at Hollywood’s Chinese theater in August of 1973. Bruce managed to find time to cultivate a family too. He and his wife Linda raised two children; a son named Brandon and a daughter named Shannon.
Writer Marcos Ocana has published three books on Bruce Lee, the most popular of which is The Bamboo Warrior. He says the public’s fascination with the star is the result of his philosophical character and zen way of life. He believed in being able to adapt – a strategy that helped him overcome racism in Hollywood and other struggles.
Hey, if you’re enjoying this video so far, make sure you give it a like. Keep watching to learn about the official and unofficial explanations behind his death.
The Official Explanation of Bruce Lee’s Death
Bruce Lee died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong on July 20, 1973, at age 32. An initial investigation couldn’t determine the cause of death. Pathologists were flown in from around the world to assess his condition. The official ruling was he took a prescription painkiller called Equagestic and had a hyper-sensitive reaction to an ingredient in it. This led to cerebral edema causing him to fall into a coma he couldn’t be retrieved from.
Doctors believe marijuana could have played a part in his death. He’d been using it for years and it had previously landed him in the hospital. His doctor Peter Wu had treated him three months before his death. He suffered from headaches and seizures in May of 1973 and was told he had cerebral edema. He was flown to the hospital and had a grand mal seizure. Peter says Bruce was in critical condition at the time due to ingesting hashish, a substance proven to cause cerebral edema. Despite warnings from the doctor, he continued to take it because of the severe stress he was under. When the swelling in his brain cleared, Bruce was released from the hospital and made a trip to Hong Kong.
He went to the home of Taiwanese actress Betty Ting Pei. She admits she was his girlfriend and there was sex involved. While in each other’s company, the two talked about a future film titled “Game of Death” and he began to get into character. She admits he overexerted himself. He was tired and dizzy and began to complain of a headache. So, she allegedly gave him a painkiller known as Equagesic. Soon after taking the medication, he collapsed onto the bed. When he couldn’t get back up, she attempted to revive him for at least 10 minutes. That didn’t seem to help so she called her personal doctor.
Bruce was eventually sent to a hospital 30 minutes away. Bruce had likely already died before they made it to the hospital. The trip provided time to call his wife Linda and get her to come to the hospital. The workers there were sure someone must be joking when they found out the identity of their patient.
Bruce had taken Equagesic before, making the idea that he had a hypersensitivity to it seem a bit suspicious. His doctors believed his low percentage of body fat could make him more sensitive to drugs and warned him against taking hash. However, there is no strong evidence linking cannabis to brain edemas, making cannabis intoxication an unlikely explanation.
False death reports were released to protect Bruce’s image and family. His production company said he died walking in the garden with his wife and the hospital sent out a release pointing to cerebral edema. Ting Pei supported the fabricated stories and his visit to her house was portrayed as a business meeting for the film “Game of Death”. The true cause of death was eventually released to the public. It’s unclear how it affected his family but it had a major impact and created a shockwave throughout his massive fanbase.
Fans, friends and family often refuse to accept the official explanation when a star like Bruce Lee dies. Other theories about his true cause of death range from attacks by Chinese gangsters, to love related issues, to health conditions, to poisonings, to a family curse. A few of these theories were tested and reported on.
A Hong Kong photographer bribed a morgue worker to take pictures of Bruce’s corpse and see if the allegations that he died with an erection were true. They noticed his face was bloated and this evidence hinted at poisoning. Official reports also came out with alternative explanations. In 2006, the Taipei Times said he had an unknown epileptic condition.
In the 2008 book, Bruce Lee Legends of the Dragon, the idea of heat stroke was suggested. The weather on the day of his death was a sweltering humid 90 degrees. Bruce also allegedly had his armpit sweat glands removed to avoid looking sweaty on camera. Chuck Norris was Bruce’s friend and believes other medications he was taking including muscle relaxants stimulants and herbal supplements may have played a part in his death. It wasn’t even clear how much he was taking and any pill or supplement could have created a deadly interaction with the Equagesic he took before his death.
Donald Langford, one of the doctors who treated Bruce, is also a bit skeptical about the official report. He claims “no painkiller killed Bruce”. He’s of the opinion that the Chinese doctors and citizens around him wanted to create the least embarrassing explanation as to why their local hero died. Ocana knows a great deal about Bruce Lee due to the many books he’s written. He says, “marijuana may have played a part in his death because it was involved in his first case of cerebral edema”.
Another popular theory is Betty Ting Pei may be the true culprit. She was asked why she didn’t take him to the nearest hospital a minute away from her house. She testified in court she “didn’t think that was important”. Fans believe she may have poisoned him to appease a secret society that wanted him dead. Rumors state Bruce may have been pursued by the Chinese mafia. He may have refused to pay the triad money in exchange for protection. Allegations also suggest he was killed by a member of the Dim Mak who didn’t appreciate him using Kung Fu in the West to become rich and famous.few rumors paint the star in an unfavorable light which may be why they’re some of the least popular. Reports allege Bruce may have taken a powerful aphrodisiac and lost control in the presence of a prostitute who killed him in self-defense.
The idea of a Lee family curse is one of the most prevailing theories. It began when he was born after the mysterious death of his older brother. Chinese superstition considers this an ominous event. The alleged curse continued when his son Brandon died on the set of the film “The Crow” at age 32. A prop gun was mysteriously fitted with a real bullet instead of a blank. It’s another sudden death fans have attempted to create alternative explanations for.
Now, it’s time to hear from you. Do you think any of the wild theories surrounding Bruce Lee’s death could be true? Let us know in the comment section below and before you go, make sure you give this video a like and subscribe to Facts Verse if you haven’t already. Click the bell icon to stay updated on all our latest content.
Watch The Video Below! 👇