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Lee died from bullet wound: Autopsy

Published Apr. 2, 1993|Updated Oct. 9, 2005

Actor Brandon Lee, son of "Kung Fu" legend Bruce Lee, died from a gunshot wound by a .44-caliber bullet that was discovered Thursday during an autopsy, police said.

The death, involving a blank pistol during filming on a North Carolina movie set, is classified as an accidental shooting.

The 28-year-old son of martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, who himself died mysteriously in 1973 of a brain wound, collapsed on a set of Carolco Studios in Wilmington where he was starring in the movie The Crow.

Brandon Lee "died of a single gunshot wound" and bled to death while hospitalized, said New Hanover County medical examiner Leon Andrews.

Police sources said the incident was captured on film, which is part of the evidence detectives have collected.

Lee collapsed shortly after midnight after another actor fired what was believed to be a blank pistol. Lee starred in the movie as a rock musician who returned from the dead as a crow quoting novelist Edgar Allen Poe to avenge his murder.

Lee was coming through a door carrying a grocery bag containing a small explosive charge to simulate the gunfire when the actor fired from about 15 feet away.

He died at a local hospital about 12 hours later without regaining consciousness.

The body of the actor, who had planned to be married this month, was released to his family after the autopsy at Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, N.C., the police spokesman said.

Asked if police suspected Lee was a victim of foul play, film publicist Jason Scott said: "At this point, no."

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's movie industry, recalling the mysterious death of its martial arts legend Bruce Lee, tried to understand how an apparently routine stunt had robbed the screen of Lee's son. "I was so shocked I thought it was an April Fool's joke," said Ronny Yu, who directed the younger Lee in his 1986 Hong Kong film debut, The Legacy of Rage.

Twenty years ago, Bruce Lee died under strange circumstances, officially of brain swelling. But some suspected he was murdered by triads _ organized crime rings _ linked to rivals in the movie industry.

Yu said that during his early career in Hong Kong, Brandon Lee had been obsessed with the idea that "someone in the Orient" had killed his father in 1973.


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