Martial Arts icon Bruce Lee died unexpectedly at the age of 32 in 1973 and his death has been a mystery sparking many theories. In a new book, Matthew Polly claims that Lee may have died from heat stroke.
The biographer and journalist consulted several medical experts to draw his conclusions about the cause of death, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Due to his physical fitness and healthy lifestyle, conspiracy theorists have suggested that Lee was poisoned by his distractors.
Bruce Lee’s official cause of death is attributed to cerebral edema due to an adverse reaction to a drug called Equagesic, which contains aspirin and a tranquilizer meprobamate.
However, the actor and martial artist collapsed and almost died about two months before his death due to cerebral edema but did not take the drug at the time.
Polly told the Australian newspaper that Bruce Lee may have increased the likelihood of heat stroke by having his sweat glands removed.
“A few months before his passing, Lee had undergone elective surgery to have the sweat glands from his armpits removed, because he didn’t like how his dank pits looked on screen.”
The philosopher reportedly had his sweat glands removed in 1972.
The journalist notes that Bruce Lee’s work rate and the weather on the day of his death were contributing factors.
“That combined with a strenuous work out on one of the hottest days of the year massively overheated his body and his brain. In speaking to numerous forensic and medical experts, my conclusion is Lee most likely died from heatstroke.”
On May 10, 1973, Lee fainted during a dubbing session for Enter the Dragon and was diagnosed and treated for cerebral edema. He died from the same condition on July 20 of the same year.
The Mayo Clinic notes that heat stroke can cause the brain to swell and lists exertion in hot weather as a risk factor.
Lee died in the apartment of Taiwanese actress Betty Ting, who offered him Equagestic after he complained about a headache.
In an LA Times article in 1998, Bruce Lee’s widow Linda Lee Cadwell said the cause of Lee’s death was attributed to hypersensitivity to one of the ingredients the drug he took.
Cadwell wrote that a “nine-day coroner’s inquest” and many forensic pathologists who studied Lee’s body testified to the conclusion.
Heat-related deaths are common among athletes who are young and fit. Bruce Lee is considered an MMA pioneer well ahead of his time. His philosophy has inspired MMA star Conor McGregor and others.