For decades, the known cause of Bruce Lee’s death has been cerebral edema or swelling of the brain. But a recent study revealed that the famed martial artist may have died because he drank too much water.
The study, which was published in March, still supports the cerebral edema theory but also suggests that it may have been caused by hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a condition where the body’s sodium levels are abnormally low.
“We propose that the kidney’s inability to excrete excess water killed Bruce Lee,” the abstract of the study reads. “In this regard, Lee had multiple risk factors for hyponatremia that may have included high chronic fluid intake...
“Factors that acutely increase thirst (marijuana) and factors that decrease the ability of the kidneys to excrete water by either promoting secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or interfering with water excretion mechanisms in kidney tubules: prescription drugs (diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, antiepileptic drugs), alcohol, chronic low solute intake, a past history of acute kidney injury and exercise.”
Lee died suddenly in 1973 at the age of 32, at the peak of his mainstream fame. His son Brandon suffered the same fate of early death at the age of 28, prompting theories of a family curse.