How Bruce Lee Died – The Myths and The Existing Evidence
Bruce Lee has gone on record as one of the most influential martial artists of all time. Although he was born in San Francisco in 1940, he was raised in Hong Kong. During his childhood, he acted in a number of small films. At 18, he went back to the United States and started teaching martial arts and Kung Fu.
Through the 70s, he was in a several major films. During this time, he changed the popular view as well as the quality of Chinese films dedicated to martial arts and to Kung Fu
Bruce Lee Death
Bruce Lee died in the prime of his life and at the core of his career. He was 33 years old at the time of day in 1973. For someone so famous and young, it is not surprising that several myths have cropped up about his death. At the time, as at now, there were varied opinions, conspiracy theories, and speculation about the cause of death. This is especially considering his youthful age as well as the possibilities of mob contracts set on his life.
Myths Surrounding Bruce Lee’s Death
The following are some of the most widely circulated myths about Lee’s passing:
1. Chinese Triads
The first myth claims that Bruce Lee was killed by the Chinese Triads. The proponents of this myth believe that Bruce had been dead for several months before his death was made public. To them, Lee was killed by the Chinese Triads because he’d refused to pay them for protection.
2. Martial Arts Followers
Others speculate that Bruce was killed by followers of martial arts and Kung Fu. In the 70s, the martial arts were not taught outside of mainstream Chinese culture and communities. The proponents of this myth, therefore, believe that Kung Fu and martial arts enthusiasts were angered by Bruce for teaching outsiders in the West their techniques and secrets. As a result, they decided to eliminate him.
3. Italian Mafia
Yet another myth blames Bruce Lee’s death on the Italian Mafia. This is, perhaps, the most popular theory in Hong Kong. The story goes that Lee refused to comply with the Mafia’s plans for his future as a producer, director, writer, and actor. This angered the Mafia and they killed him.
4. Betty Ting Pei
Some have speculated that Betty Ting, a Taiwanese actress and close friend and confidant of Bruce Lee’s, poisoned him. She was used, apparently, by a Chinese Tong secret society to affect the murder. However, none of those who believe in this theory know the reason why the Chinese Tong would have wanted Bruce dead.
This theory states that Bruce took an aphrodisiac so powerful that he became violent and dangerous to a prostitute. It goes on to state that the prostitute killed him while defending herself. However, going by Bruce Lee’s speed, agility, and graceful mastery of the martial arts and Kung Fu, it is doubtful that a prostitute would have managed to overpower him.
6. The Bruce Lee Death Curse
Finally, others believe that the Lee family was cursed. This curse carried on to his son, Brandon Lee. Brandon grew up in an acting family and followed in his father’s footsteps – becoming a successful actor and building a lucrative career in his own name.
He, however, died in the most bizarre of filming accidents aged 28 while filming The Crow. His death further sparked the floating theories and rumours about there being a family curse on the Lees.
Bruce Lee’s Death: The Unmasked Truth
As seen above, there had been a great deal of speculation and conspiracy theories floating around the time Bruce Lee died. However, from the medical tests and autopsies performed on his body, it appears that Lee died because his body reacted to some Hashish he’d got from Nepal. The hashish, combined with the muscle relaxant he was taking for his ongoing back problems, as well as the prescription pain tablets that he got from a friend, are to blame. This is because the Nepalese hashish he’d bought was uncut and, therefore, toxic.
A couple of weeks before his death, Bruce Lee was admitted to hospital with high temperature and seizures. The doctor who took charge of his treatment believed that the seizures arose from the pure hashish he had chewed.
Bruce’s wife, Linda Emery Lee, confirmed that her husband was used to taking the occasional dose of hashish to help him relax.
Seeing as how Bruce Lee’s weight was so low and he had less than 1% body fat, the hashish created even more problems for him. Body fat absorbs toxins, making it difficult for them to hit the vital organs at a go. The doctor, therefore, advised Bruce to stop taking hashish because there was a chance it could prove catastrophic if he did’nt.
When he returned to the United States, Bruce sought medical attention. He was given a clean bill of health, which may have inadvertently given him a false sense of security that eventually led to him using the drug.
His symptoms just before he died are like the common reactions that people get when they take hashish. Around the time of Lee’s death, his weight was close to less than 20 pounds his ideal weight. With such a tiny body, excess fat could not absorb the drugs he took and limit damage to his vital organs.
There were several problems after Bruce Lee died. These arose from the fact that the death involved officials and insurance companies from two countries – the United States and China. Some of the officials did not want to release the findings from his autopsy because they feared that Lee’s young fans and other Kung Fu enthusiasts would be drawn to the dangerous drug.
More On Bruce Lee’s Death
In May 1973 while filming Enter the Dragon, Bruce was found kneeling on the floor during a filming break. His colleague took him back to the studio but he collapsed again and became sick. His body also started shivering and he was rushed to the hospital.
The diagnosis showed that Bruce Lee:
– Had a high fever
– Was irresponsive
– Was unconscious
– Had heavy breathing
– Was convulsing
– Had a large swelling in the brain
The doctors gave him Mannitol to reduce the brain swelling. They also pumped out small amounts of hashish from his stomach and advised him not to use the drug again. Lee ignored this advice and took the drug a couple of weeks later, leading to his death.