Leslie Cheung fans gather at Mandarin Oriental in Central to pay tribute on the 20th anniversary of his passing

1957

1st April 2023 – (Hong Kong) On 1st April 2003, Hong Kong lost one of its biggest stars, Leslie Cheung. Today, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, fans gathered in front of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Central to pay tribute to the legendary singer and actor. Despite the rain, a large crowd of fans and movie enthusiasts brought bouquets and heartfelt messages to show their respect for the late star.

Police officers were present to maintain order.

Throughout his 26-year career, Cheung released over 40 albums and starred in 56 films. He was a pioneering figure in the development of Cantopop during the 1980s, and his flamboyant stage presence and androgynous persona became his trademarks. Cheung was also an accomplished actor, receiving critical acclaim for his portrayal of gay characters in a conservative film industry.

Cheung’s last concert tour, the Passion Tour, took place from 2000 to 2001 and broke attendance records throughout Asia, including a record for the first foreign artist to hold 16 concerts in Japan. However, the tour was met with disapproval in Hong Kong due to Cheung’s use of drag performance through Jean Paul Gaultier’s costume designs. Cheung’s sexual orientation and androgynous appearance also sparked numerous discussions in public and media.

Cheung’s announcement of his same-sex relationship with childhood friend Daffy Tong Hok-tak during a concert in 1997 was seen as a milestone moment for LGBT visibility in Chinese society. Cheung dedicated a love song to the two “lovers of his life”, his mother and his boyfriend Daffy Tong, and earned prestige in LGBT communities in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In interviews, Cheung identified as bisexual and believed that a good actor should be androgynous and ever-changing.

Despite the passing of 20 years, Leslie Cheung’s music and films continue to inspire and influence generations of fans. His music albums and films, including his iconic role in the Wong Kar-wai’s film “Happy Together”, remain popular in Asia and beyond. The outpouring of love and tribute from fans on the anniversary of his death shows that Leslie Cheung’s legacy will continue to live on.