Leslie Cheung had last drink before leaping to his death

Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing had a final drink on a balcony overlooking Victoria Harbour on the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Central as he wrote a suicide note, before leaping to his death, it emerged yesterday.

The 46-year-old singer and actor, star of 1993's Farewell My Concubine, was a regular client at the Mandarin and arrived at the health centre of the hotel in Connaught Road shortly after 4pm on Tuesday.

He went straight out to the balcony through a glass door where he sat alone and ordered a glass of orange juice, sources said yesterday. The juice and a glass of water were delivered from the hotel's coffee shop.

'There were another two or three empty tables at the balcony and the glass door was covered with curtains so that no one could see what he was doing outside the health centre,'' one source said.

'About an hour later, he returned to the health centre and asked one of the receptionists for a pen and paper, which he used to write his note.'

The note was not addressed to anyone and began with the word 'Depression', the source said. In it, he expressed gratitude to his closest friends but did not reveal why he committed suicide.

After sitting alone quietly for about two hours, Cheung is believed to have put the suicide note in his pocket, climbed over the waist-high balcony railing and jumped to his death. It was shortly after 6.30pm.

His body was found in Connaught Road, just outside the main entrance of the hotel. He was taken to Queen Mary Hospital where he was declared dead. A police spokeswoman said there was no suspicion of foul play, adding that Cheung's death was believed to have been linked to emotional problems.

Yesterday, his fans placed wreaths, cards and notes on the pavement outside the hotel.

Some were inconsolable. 'My mood is like today's weather - depressed and grey but unable to cry,' said Diane Lo Wing-yan.

Vanissa Tsang Wing-yan, another fan of Cheung's, said she could not understand why her idol - whose role in Inner Senses earned him a best-actor nomination for Sunday's Hong Kong Film Awards - had chosen to end his life. She added that lately all Hong Kong seemed to hear were sad stories.

'Hong Kong is in a big mess. I was upset about the pneumonia thing, but now this happens' She said.