Anita Mui, 40; Canto-Pop Singer and Actress in Hong Kong Films

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Anita Mui, the Hong Kong Canto-pop star and actress whose melancholic voice captivated the Chinese-speaking world, has died. She was 40.

Mui died in a Hong Kong hospital Tuesday of lung failure caused by her battle with cervical cancer, friends of the pop star told the Hong Kong media.

In September, Mui confirmed reports that she had cervical cancer but vowed to beat the disease.


“I am not a weak person.... I can tell you that I have never had any fears and I will win this fight,” she told reporters.

Although noticeably frail, she completed a concert series in November.

Born into an impoverished Hong Kong family, Mui began singing at local amusement parks when she was 4. In 1982, she won a prestigious local talent contest, putting her on the road to stardom.

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, she sold more than 10 million albums in her 20-year career. Canto-pop refers to songs performed in Cantonese, a dialect that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities.

Mui appeared in more than 40 films, alongside such recognizable Hong Kong stars as Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh. In 1987, she won Taiwan’s Golden Horse award for best actress for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie “Rogue.”

Mui actively took part in local charity work and established a foundation under her name in the early 1990s.

Mui was not married. Details on survivors were not immediately known. Her elder sister, Ann Mui, died in 2000, also of cancer.

In comments on Hong Kong television Tuesday, Chan said that Mui, who had appeared with him in the film “Rumble in the Bronx,” “didn’t belong to the entertainment industry. She belonged to all Hong Kong people.”