The world will celebrate iconic actor and martial artist Bruce Lee on his fiftieth death anniversary on July 20, 1973. Nearly a year before the event, a study has shocked Lee’s legions of fans across the world by theorising that he had died from excessive fluid consumption. 

The study, titled “Who killed Bruce Lee? The hyponatraemia hypothesis”, was published in the Clinical Kidney Journal’s December 2022 edition. The authors reveal that Lee had been suffering from “multiple risk factors for hyponatraemia”, and added that “chronic fluid intake” has been responsible for affecting Lee’s kidney function.

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Lee had died in 1973 after taking a painkiller called Equagesic. It was widely believed that he had died because of a reaction to meprobamate, a compound present in Equagesic. The official statement was that the film icon had “died by misadventure”.

The research further stated, “We suggest that the fact that water intake was repeatedly noticed when it is such a commonplace activity that might have been forgotten given the exceptional circumstances means that it was indeed noticeably higher than the intake of other persons present on the day that Lee died”.

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The cult status Lee had achieved during his lifetime and his sudden demise at the age of 32 added to the mystery associated with his life. A number of speculations ran amok when the news of his death first came to light. Some had hypothesised that he was killed by Chinese triads while others presumed this was a planned assassination by his detractors in the industry.

Lee’s status among film directors, both from the East and West, has only grown with the passing of time. Filmmakers like Jackie Chan (who appeared as one of the extras in Lee’s film Fists of Fury), John Woo, and Quentin Tarantino have cited Lee as one of the major influences on their careers.