Fans mark 10th anniversary of Leslie Cheung death

  • Associated Press
  • April 2, 2013 - 1:20 AM

HONG KONG - Almost 2 million origami made by fans in memory of singer-actor Leslie Cheung are being displayed in Hong Kong at an exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of his death.

The "Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition" at the Times Square shopping mall is one of many memorial events in his hometown.

Many fans discovered Cheung after his passing. "I really miss him, and I regret that I did not get to know him until 2009," said Kang Lizhen, a mainland Chinese who was born in 1990.

Those who discovered him after his death feel like they lost a friend, said one such fan, Marie A. Jost. "There will be no new works, no new events, no news of Leslie ... It really does feel that we've lost a dear, dear friend," said Jost.

Cheung killed himself by jumping off the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in central Hong Kong on April 1, 2003. His death came at a dark time for his hometown as Hong Kong was hit with the SARS epidemic (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Hundreds died in the illness outbreak that also crippled the Hong Kong economy and cast a gloomy pall on the normally vibrant and energetic city.

Cheung, who was 46 when he died, made several hit albums and starred in classic films including 1987's "A Chinese Ghost Story," director John Woo's "A Better Tomorrow" and Chinese director Chen Kaige's "Farewell My Concubine."

A memorial concert was held Sunday, and Cheung's fans mark his death anniversary each year by visiting the hotel where he committed suicide. One wall of the hotel is covered in flowers, candles and posters of the singer and actor.

Fans sent in volumes of crafted paper this year to try to set a Guinness record for most origami made for a cause. Organizers said 1,900,119 were collected.

The memorial origami are displayed in a transparent archway above a large statue of Cheung at the "Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition" entrance, and one large, red origami sits in the statue's open palm. The exhibition showcases costumes from his concerts, and a mini-theater plays films and interview clips.

The fans' effort and the origami display were encouraged by Florence Chan Suk-Fun, the former agent for the performer, said Vernon Ma, promotions manager for Times Square.

"Ms. Chan thought it might be good to gather all the origami together and put them in a nice display, and to showcase to the public that Leslie fans' love is so powerful. After 10 years' time, they still remember Leslie, and they still want to do something for Leslie," Ma said.

Hundreds of fans held a candlelight vigil at a nearby park at 18:41 p.m. marking the time of his death.

The concert in his memory included performances by Cheung's friends like canto pop singer Jacky Cheung, Karen Mok and Leo Ku.

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