Canto-pop star Anita Mui Yim-fong was adored by fans and Hong Kong's show business elite - and her early death was mourned by tens of thousands. The singer and movie actress died at the age of 40 in late 2003 after battling cervical cancer. After her death, the unmarried entertainer was remembered not only for her storied 20-year career, but also for her 'true heart'. Mui began singing as a youngster. At the age of five she could be seen in theatres and on the street singing Chinese opera and pop songs. Her rise to true stardom came in 1982, the year she beat 3,000 others to win the first New Talent Singing Awards contest. Mui soon became an icon, singing such legendary hits as Bad Girl and Years Pass Like Water. She also starred in dozens of films, including Stanley Kwan Kam-pang's Rouge. When Mui went public with her illness in September 2003, she was joined by Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Andy Lau Tak-wah and several other top stars. 'When I told my friends I was sick, they tried to do everything they could to help me,' Mui said before bravely declaring that she would fight the disease. 'I don't want my fans to cry any more, to worry any more. I am not a loser or a weakling even though I am a patient.' Thousands of fans turned out for her funeral in North Point in January 2004. A Buddhist ceremony in her memory was held earlier. One of Mui's teachers, the 14th Red Hat Lama of Tibet, Shamar Rinpoche, said: 'Mui had a true heart. She was an unconventional woman and brought happiness to lots of people during her life.' In 2005, a wax statue of Mui was installed at Madame Tussauds on The Peak. The statue was modelled after a scene from Mui's 1999 'Ever-changing Images' concert, where she carried a baton and wore a silk gown, black tights and high heels. During her life, Mui - who was compared to US singer Madonna - performed 300 concerts and sold 10 million albums.