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Japanese fans pay last respects to H.K. star.

HONG KONG, April 8 Kyodo

Japanese fans joined thousands of admirers in Hong Kong on Tuesday to bid farewell to their idol Leslie Cheung, who jumped to his death last week.

''We are tortured with pain, grief and emptiness by missing you everyday,'' said a group of Japanese fans in an open letter to ''our dearest person Leslie'' published in the Ming Pao Daily News.

''You still live together with us in all of our memories because we never forget you. We will continue to love your arts that you left for us and we treasure them forever,'' said the letter signed by ''your many many Japanese fans.''

Actor-singer Cheung, 46, plunged to his death from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong's downtown Central on April 1.

Police earlier said a suicide note was found, which indicated Cheung had emotional problems, and that no foul play was involved.

The star was popular in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia, and well-known for his lead roles in such films as ''Farewell My Concubine'' and ''Happy Together.''

Cheung's funeral was held Tuesday with only family members and friends attending. His body was sent for cremation afterward.

Local and overseas fans crowed outside the funeral home Tuesday to bid farewell to their idol, braving rainy weather and the scare of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that has spread rapidly and killed 23 people in the city.

Monday evening, thousands of admirers, many wearing black and holding white flowers, queued to get into the funeral hall to pay their respects to Cheung.

One Japanese fan told the Apple Daily she came to say goodbye to Cheung despite her family's objection to her Hong Kong visit for fear she might catch the highly infectious SARS.

She reportedly said it was worth taking the risk for her idol.

Some South Korean fans also flew into Hong Kong for Cheung's funeral.

''I'll remember your music, movies and all about you,'' Kim Min Seon wrote on a placard for Cheung.

''You're my hero,'' said another fan, Lim Jung Hyun.
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Article Details
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9HONG
Date:Apr 14, 2003
Previous Article:Global death toll from SARS nears 100, WHO says.
Next Article:2 more die as SARS continues spreading in H.K.

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