On July 20, 1973 -- almost 50 years ago -- Bruce Lee suddenly died in Hong Kong, shocking fans all over the world. At the time, officials stated that the cause of death was cerebral oedema, or brain swelling. However, a new study by a group of kidney specialists in Spain suggests that his death was due to his "kidney’s inability to excrete excess water."
According to the specialists, Lee, who was 30 years old at the time of his death, had "multiple risk factors for hyponatraemia," which means that he had abnormally low sodium concentration in his blood. The report noted his "chronic fluid intake," marijuana and additional factors that could have affected his kidneys such as prescription drugs, alcohol intake and history of injuries.
"We hypothesize that Bruce Lee died from a specific form of kidney dysfunction: the inability to excrete enough water to maintain water homeostasis… . This may lead to hyponatraemia, cerebral oedema and death within hours if excess water intake is not matched by water excretion in urine," the research, published in the December 2022 edition of the Clinical Kidney Journal, states. "Given that hyponatraemia is frequent, as is found in up to 40% of hospitalized persons and may cause death due to excessive water ingestion even in young healthy persons, there is a need for a wider dissemination of the concept that excessive water intake can kill."
Bruce Lee's death has been a mystery to many. The actor died in Hong Kong six days before the release of his film Enter the Dragon, while he was additionally working on a movie titled Game of Death. The star became a cultural icon of the 20th century with a biopic titled Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story later releasing in 1993.
You can read the paper here.