Hong Kong mourns the death of Asia's first gay icon

For the past 15 years, fans in Hong Kong have mourned the death of Leslie Cheung, one of the first Asian celebrities to come out as gay

Leslie Cheung in Farewell My Concubine, screen grab from the movie

Leslie Cheung in Farewell My Concubine, screen grab from the movie

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- For the past 15 years, fans of superstar Leslie Cheung, one of the first celebrities in Asia to come out of the closet, have gathered in Hong Kong's Mandarin Oriental Hotel to mourn the tragic death of the actor, and there is no exception to this year.

One of Hong Kong's most famous actor and singer of the mid-80s, Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing did not refrain himself from opening up to his fans about his sexual orientation and wasn't afraid to provoke controversies with his provocative performances at a time when the audience were still conservative.

This year's vigil saw fans flying in from neighboring countries. The actor's charm continues to attract fans, including young teenagers and millennials.

25-year-old Wu traveled from Hunan Province, China with his boyfriend to mourn the icon.

Wu told BBC Chinese he drew strength from Cheung's "spirit of being true to oneself".

"He showed the world that gay people can be positive, bright and worthy of respect." Wu was quoted as saying by BBC.

A 15-year-old fan named Lam said she discovered Leslie's music through YouTube and became a fan.

Cheung gained international recognition through his work in the film Farewell My Concubine, in which he played the role of Cheng Dieyi, the androgynous Peking Opera star. Cheung won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1993 for his role in the film.

He went on to become a superstar after starring in the movie Happy Together, which is about a Gay couple and their struggle in finding peaceful existence.

He jumped to his death on April 1, 2003 from the 24th floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel after suffering from depression, shocking his fans and the entire film industry of Hong Kong.

Fifteen years after the gay icon's death, Mandarin Oriental Hotel remains the first stop of walking tour on the city's LGBT history.