This Day in History: a Music Legend Comes to a Tragic End

By Kirby John Carney, June 30, 2023

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The band Beyond is synonymous with Chinese music. They are estimated to have sold millions of records across China. Their biggest concert attracted a crowd of 100,000 in January, 1993 in Beijing. 

Their signature song ’Boundless, Vast Skies’ (海阔天空) is a legendary epic pop song reminiscent of longform classic like ’Hey Jude.’ The lyrics explore themes of personal freedom and the pursuit of dreams. Spurred by Wong’s disillusionment with the Hong Kong music industry, the band decided to move to Japan to continue their musical career. The release of the aforementioned smash hit in May 1993 marked the peak of the band’s popularity but it was short-lived as Wong died horrifically less than two months later.

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    He was adored by many fans in China. Image via @vyanlee/Twitter

The band had begun a promotional tour in Japan in January 1993 with multiple planned-media appearances in Tokyo. On June 24, while filming a television game show, If Uchannan-chan Is Going to Do It, We Have to Do It! in Tokyo, tragedy struck. Wong and one of the shows’ hosts, Teruyoshi Uchimura, fell three meters from a raised platform on set. Wong fell head first, knocking himself into a coma. 

Wong was rushed to hospital and news of this accident was largely suppressed on Japanese media. Hong Kong fans, however, were devastated when the accident was revealed. Many Beyond fans gathered outside Hong Kong radio stations to pray for him while the stations played his songs on a constant loop for days after.

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Image via @embryo66/Twitter

On June 26, Japanese doctors declared that there was nothing else they could do. Rumors circulated that a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner arrived to treat Wong and his condition showed a slight improvement, giving a moment of hopefulness to his anxious fanbase.

But this hope was short-lived as six days later his death was announced by Japanese press. He died at the age of 31. His body was transported back to Hong Kong on July 3 and he was met with thousands of somber fans. Wong’s funeral procession brought Hong Kong to a standstill, as fans and renowned Cantopop singers flooded the streets to pay their respects. The emotional gathering reflected Wong’s immense popularity and the profound impact he had on the music industry. He was laid to rest in Tseung Kwan O Cemetery, which has becoming a place of pilgrimage for fans who continue to honor his memory. Today his legacy lives on as a beloved figure of Hong Kong’s music scene. 

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He was renowned for his powerful and inspiring lyrics. Image via @摇滚客Rocker/Weibo

While nothing has been officially announced to commemorate his passing, charity concerts in his memory are planned in Hong Kong, Malaysia and many other places.


[Cover image via Weibo]

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