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Fame and celebrity

Nearly a thousand mourners show up for funeral service of Hong Kong singer Ellen Joyce Loo

Among those who came to say their final goodbyes are fellow celebrities Khalil Fong and Eason Chan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2018, 9:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 6:58am

Nearly a thousand people paid their respects to late Hong Kong singer-songwriter Ellen Joyce Loo on Monday, eight days after she fell to her death at her Happy Valley residence at the age of 32.

Mourners queued in silence outside Hong Kong Funeral Home, dressed mostly in black with some donning masks. Groups of 30 people each time were allowed into a memorial room, where a photo of the artist and paintings done by her were placed. The displays were surrounded by flowers sent by her friends and relatives.

Loo’s body was in a coffin housed in a separate room at the facility, where members of the public did not visit.

Her grieving fans, mostly young women holding hands in pairs, clutched bouquets of flowers while paying a teary tribute to the star’s photos.

Loo, who came out as a lesbian last year, was an iconic advocate of LGBT rights in Hong Kong.

After idol’s suicide, Hongkonger, 22, speaks up about mental illness

The funeral ceremony open to the public lasted from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, followed by a private vigil, with dozens of her friends, including singer-songwriter Khalil Fong Dai-tung and local pop singer Eason Chan Yik-shun, as well as family members showing up at the entrance of the funeral home.

Snow Huang, 22, who has been a fan of Loo for eight years, was among the mourners.

“She has always been my role model and showed a positive attitude to life all the time despite her mental illness,” Huang, who is from mainland China, said in a trembling voice.

Loo was diagnosed with bipolar disorder five years ago, and was open in her struggle against the condition. Her sudden death has sparked heated discussion over the quality of care for mental illness patients in the city.

“Now she’s gone. This world no long means anything to her,” Huang said.

Loo was found dead outside her home in Happy Valley at about 9.50am on August 5. Police suspected she had jumped to her death, after investigations revealed nothing suspicious behind the incident.

Another fan at the scene, a 28-year-old woman surnamed Chau, said she believed death was a “relief” for her idol.

“She had inspired so many people who suffer from mental disorders. Her existence in this world itself was an encouragement to me,” Chau said.

Referring to the band Loo founded in 2001, she added: “I always feel like at17 aims to share simple happiness with the public. The band has accompanied me growing up since high school.”

“She taught me how to face life with positivity,” Chau said. “I’d rather think that she is in a happy place now.”

Loo will be cremated on Tuesday.