Hong Kong Diva Anita Mui Dies

Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui, whose melancholic voice captivated the Chinese-speaking world, died early today (Dec. 30) after a battle with cervical cancer.

Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui, whose melancholic voice captivated the Chinese-speaking world, died early today (Dec. 30) after a battle with cervical cancer. She was 40. Mui died at Hong Kong's Sanatorium and Hospital at 2:50 a.m. after suffering lung complications caused by cervical cancer, according to fellow stars keeping vigil at the hospital.

Actor Jackie Chan eulogized the veteran entertainer, who many referred to affectionately as "Sister Mui." "She didn't belong to the entertainment industry. She belonged to all Hong Kong people," said Chan in footage shown on Cable TV. Mui appeared with Chan in "Rumble in the Bronx."

Local newspapers today published special editions commemorating Mui. Apple Daily ran photos of Hong Kong stars streaming in to visit her before her death, including singers Andy Lau, Eason Chan, Nicholas Tse, Sammi Cheng and James Bond girl Michelle Yeoh.

Mui launched her career by winning a local singing contest in 1982. Her unusually deep voice caught further notice with a soulful delivery of the acclaimed song "Homecoming."

Mui's frequent makeovers drew comparisons to Madonna. In 1987, she held a then record-breaking 28 concerts in Hong Kong, titled "Ever-changing Anita." She proved equally impressive on screen, winning Taiwan's Golden Horse award for best actress in 1987 for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie "Rouge."

In September, Mui confirmed media reports that she had cervical cancer but vowed to beat the disease. "I am not a weak person ... I can tell you that I have never had any fears and I will win this fight," she told a news conference.

Although physically frail, Mui completed another concert series in November after her cancer announcement.

Her death comes eight months after the suicide of Hong Kong star Leslie Cheung, who rose to fame in tandem with Mui in the 1980s. The two were reportedly close friends who would bunk together during overseas concert tours. Cheung also starred in "Rouge."

Canto-pop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, a Chinese dialect that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities.

Mui, who was not married, also actively took part in charity work. She established the Anita Mui Charity Foundation in the early 1990s. Her elder sister, Mui Oi-fong, died in 2000, also from cancer.

Funeral services are set for Jan. 12 at the Hong Kong Funeral Home.


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