Forty-seven years ago, on May 10th, 1973, Bruce Lee collapsed during an automated dialogue replacement session for the film, "Enter The Dragon" at Golden Harvest in Hong Kong. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital, where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. They were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of mannitol.
On July 20th, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong to have dinner with actor George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee's wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2:00 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the film "Game of Death". They worked until 4:00 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee's colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting's home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.
Later, Lee complained of a headache, and Ting gave him the painkiller Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and the tranquilizer meprobamate. Around 7:30 p.m., he went to lie down for a nap. When Lee did not come for dinner, Chow came to the apartment, but he was unable to wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, and spent ten minutes attempting to revive Lee before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Lee was declared dead on arrival, at the age of 32. On the verge of superstardom with Enter The Dragon, Bruce Lee's sudden death had shocked the world:
Around the time of Lee's sudden death, numerous rumors appeared in the media. Lee's iconic status and untimely death fed many wild rumors and theories. These included murder involving the triads and a supposed curse on him and his family, rumors that persist to the present day.
Here is actual footage from the memorial, Linda Lee's statement and George Lazenbee looking back on the last day Bruce was alive:
There was no visible external injury; however, according to autopsy reports, Lee's brain had swollen considerably, roughly 13%. When the doctors announced Lee's death, it was officially ruled a "death by misadventure". Here are clips of both Linda Lee and his daughter, Shannon Lee looking back on their memories and experiences after Bruce's death:
Lee's wife Linda returned to her hometown of Seattle, and had Lee's body buried in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle. Bruce Lee's funeral on July 25, 1973, included many members of the Hollywood community, including his good friends, Steve McQueen and James Coburn as pallbearers. Here is some actual footage:
Bruce Lee gave his last interview on The Pierre Berton show filmed in Hong Kong. Here is a look back at that interview, which capture's Bruce's personal and philosophical side:
Donald Teare, a forensic scientist, recommended by Scotland Yard, who had overseen over 1,000 autopsies, was assigned to the Lee case. His conclusion was "death by misadventure" caused by cerebral edema due to a reaction to compounds present in the combination medication Equagesic. Although there was initial speculation that cannabis found in Lee's stomach may have contributed to his death, Teare refuted this, stating that it would "be both 'irresponsible and irrational' to say that [cannabis] might have triggered either the events of Bruce's collapse on May 10 or his death on July 20". Dr. R. R. Lycette, the clinical pathologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, reported at the coroner hearing that the death could not have been caused by cannabis.
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