Bruce Lee's death may have been the result of a heat stroke and not a sensitivity to a painkiller, author Matthew Polly suggested in his new book "Bruce Lee: A Life," according to Fox News.
Polly interviewed more than 100 people connected with Lee, including friends, family, colleagues, and his widow Linda Lee Cadwell for the novel on the kung fu movie legend who died in 1973 at 32 during the height of his popularity, Fox News wrote.
Lee officially died of a cerebral edema possibly caused by a sensitivity due to a painkiller called Equagesic, according to Fox News. Polly told the network, an incident before his death leads him to believe it was probably a heat stroke.
"The key to understanding Bruce Lee's death is that he collapsed 10 weeks before and almost died of the very same thing," Polly told Fox News. "On May 10, 1973, he walked into a small dubbing room on one of the hottest days of the month. They turned off the air conditioner to avoid ruining the soundtrack. He immediately overheated and got dizzy.
"He left the room and still collapsed to the ground. He got back up and when he walked into the heated room, he collapsed again and started violently convulsing. They got him to the hospital and the doctors suspected his brain was swelling… And so the first collapse looked exactly like a case of heat stroke," Polly continued.
According to the website The Ringer, the book goes into detail about the last day of Lee's life, describing how actress Betty Ting Pei, who was described as Lee's mistress, gave him Equagesic after the screen icon complained of a headache before a big meeting with studio executives.
Lee, whose movies gave lifts to today's martial arts stars Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan, went to sleep in Pei's bed but never woke up, the excerpt from the book said, according to The Ringer.
"'Bruce Lee: A Life' is thorough, balanced and myth-busting, particularly on the murky circumstances of Lee’s death," a review from the Seattle Times said. "His legacy, Polly writes, is that he 'single-handedly introduced more people to Asian culture than any other person in history. Because of Bruce, millions of Westerners took up the martial arts.'"
Along with a heat wave in Hong Kong, where he died, a decision to surgically remove the sweat glands from his armpits just before the first incident may have played a role, he told Fox News.
"He didn't think they looked good on screen," Polly said to the network. "It was his job to look good on screen. [But] that would have made it harder for him to dissipate heat."
Polly said that wild speculation about Lee's death followed, but nothing was more convincing to him than the heat stroke theory.
"At the time there were dozens and dozens of rumors — that he was poisoned, that ninjas got to him, that someone put a death touch on him," Polly told Fox News. "There's no evidence of a cover-up. My conclusion is heat stroke… It's a very common killer of young athletic men."
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