Bruce Lee died of drinking too much water, doctors say

On July 20, 1973, the world mourned the passing of the kung fu legend. From assassination by Chinese gangsters to poisoning by a jealous lover, all sorts of rumors have swirled about the cause of his death. But the conclusions of the doctors are far removed from these speculations. For them, there is no doubt: cerebral edema due to overconsumption of water led the actor to his downfall.

The proverb «Be water, my friend»made famous by Bruce Lee, would finally seem to have killed him, quips the New York Post. In the aftermath of his death, doctors thought the edema was due to taking a painkiller, but nearly fifty years later, research has advanced. It would actually appear that the icon of Enter the Dragon died of hyponatremia – a low level of sodium in the blood – which can be caused by too much water or fluid in the body.

“We hypothesize that Bruce Lee died of a specific form of kidney dysfunction. The actor must have been unable to excrete enough water through his urine to maintain fluid homeostasis – regulation. Under these conditions, it can lead to hyponatremia.explains the research team in the Clinical Kidney Journal.

A predictable death

The way of life of the one who was renamed “the little dragon” explains his death. His wife Linda had also mentioned that he had adopted a liquid-based diet, essentially consisting of carrot and apple juice, and an astronomical amount of water.

In addition, his regular marijuana use was a highly likely factor in increasing his thirst. Matthew Poly, author of the book Bruce Lee: A life, notably mentioned repeated water intakes on the evening of his death. The fact that the writer specified that the actor quenched his thirst that day, a normally banal gesture, testifies to his abnormal consumption.

His medical history also suggested an imminent death, since the ability of Bruce Lee’s kidneys to evacuate water was particularly weakened. Many factors explain this dysfunction. Among them: taking prescription drugs, alcohol, diuretics and opioids. The martial arts master had also been weakened by an episode of cerebral edema two months before his death, as well as by kidney damage. So his organs were probably not able to handle even normal amounts of fluid. His fate then seemed inevitable.

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