Hong Kong: Pop star Ellen Joyce Loo was trailblazer for Hong Kong’s LGBT community and broke down stigma around mental illness

“At this time of my life, I feel that I’m more inspired by gender and political issues as a musician and as an artist. I want to speak up for women and sexual minorities.”  Ellen Joyce Loo told me this last December during an interview leading up to the onstage reunion of at17, the alternative Canto-pop duo that she co-founded with Eman Lam Yee-man when she was just 15 years old.

A talented musician who appeared to have come to terms with her bipolar disorder and sexuality (she married her wife in 2016 and came out publicly as a lesbian last year), Loo described 2017’s Girls Girls Girls Live in Concert at Queen Elizabeth Stadium, their first show in seven years, as a “reunion of two grown-up women”. During the December interview, Loo had never sounded more mature, hopeful and optimistic.

The show turned out to be a great success and their fans were looking forward to one day seeing the duo perform their favourite songs at the Hong Kong Coliseum, the Mecca of Canto-pop, such as The Best Is Yet To Come, which includes the lyrics: “There will always be a kiss that hasn’t been tasted/ A candle that hasn’t been lit/ The best is yet to come”.

But the best will never come. On Sunday morning – just eight months after I spoke to this confident woman excited about the future – Loo fell to her death from her flat in Happy Valley. She was 32.

After we last spoke, Loo appeared to have been enjoying her time in the limelight. The night before her death, she was shooting an episode of the ViuTV reality show Good Night Show – King Maker, in which she appeared as a celebrity judge. Singer Terence Chui Chi-long, a friend of Loo and a fellow guest star on the reality show, says Loo answered a WhatsApp message about meeting up with him at 8am the next morning. She seemed to be fine. Read more via South China Morning Post

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