Page last updated at 06:30 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2003

Hong Kong star dies from cancer

Hong Kong singer and actress Anita Mui, September 2003
Anita Mui was known as Hong Kong's Madonna

Hong Kong pop singer and actress Anita Mui has died at the age of 40, after a battle with cancer.

She was Hong Kong's best loved singer and actress, as well as an advocate of charity and pro-democracy causes.

She had announced news of her ill health in September, telling reporters she was determined to fight the cancer.

Anita Mui's career break came in 1982 when she won a singing contest. Two years later she shot to fame with her song Homecoming, and also began acting.

The BBC's Francis Markus says Mui's death is being mourned throughout the Chinese-speaking world, where she was often compared to Madonna.

Sad year

Film legend Jackie Chan and actress Michelle Yeoh were at the star's bedside.

"She went peacefully and beautifully. Her own last wish was that her fans and reporters could let her go quietly, not to cry and call out her name," Chan told reporters.

But that plea will be beyond many, our correspondent says.

In 1987 Mui won the Taiwanese Golden Horse award for best actress for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie, Rouge.

Her co-star was the popular actor and singer Leslie Cheung, who was also a close friend of hers. He committed suicide in April.

Anita Mui's older sister Mui Oi-fong, had died of ovarian cancer after a 15-year battle in 2000.

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The BBC's Francis Markus
"Some called Anita Mui the Madonna of Asia"

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