#28 Bruce Lee
Born: November 27th, 1940
Died: July 20th, 1973
Age at death: 32
Cause of death: Cerebral edema
On July 20th, 1973, martial artist Bruce Lee complained of a headache during a meeting with producer Raymond Chow and actress Betty Ting Pei at her home. After taking the painkiller Equagesic that Ting gave him, Lee went to lie down for a nap at around 7:30 p.m. When Lee did not come to the dinner meeting he was supposed to attend with Chow later that night, Chow went to Lee’s apartment, where he was unable to wake up Lee. A doctor, who arrived at the scene, attempted to revive Lee before sending him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Though there was no visible external injury, results of the autopsy revealed that Lee’s brain had swollen considerably. Lee’s death came two months after he was diagnosed with cerebral edema, which is basically swelling of the brain. In a 2005 interview. Chow said Lee died from an allergic reaction to the tranquilizer meprobamate, a common ingredient in painkillers like Equagesic.
Known for defying stereotypes associated with the emasculated Asian male in American films, Lee is regarded by many to be the most influential martial artist of all time. His most notable martial arts films include Lo Wei’s The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972), Way of the Dragon (1972), Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978).