Bruce Lee died a month before the release of Enter the Dragon (1973), the movie which turned him into an international icon.
The more inventive blamed the Chinese Triads or Japanese ninjas. Maybe it was an ancient curse.
The public grew so upset there were protests and bomb threats, forcing the British colonial government to call for a full investigation.
At the Coroner’s Inquest into his death, a British forensic expert posited that Bruce had died from an allergic reaction to an aspirin he had taken just prior to his death.
Bruce died from a cerebral edema (swelling of the brain). No one knows for certain what caused it, although sure it wasn’t ninjas.
Bruce was a hardcore martial artist who took aspirin for pain most of his adult life without any side effects.
A few months prior to his death, Bruce Lee had the sweat glands in his armpits surgically removed. The day he died, July 20, 1973, was the hottest of the month in tropical Hong Kong. He complained of a headache, went to lie down, and never got back up again.
Bruce Lee’s death was the result of severe brain swelling: a buildup of fluid had resulted in a 13 percent increase in brain size.
The coroner officially ruled Bruce Lee’s death the result of a second cerebral edema brought on by taking Equagesic. He called Lee’s end “death by misadventure,” which, unlike death by accident, implies that death occurred due to a dangerous, voluntary risk — though Equagesic was not generally considered dangerous to take.
Other theories blame everyone from the Mafia (Italian, Chinese, and American) to his fans to even his family.