It’s almost 50 years since Bruce Lee tragically died at the young age of 32. 

The martial arts legend died suddenly on July 20th, 1973, in Hong Kong, with the cause of death at the time being ruled as cerebral edema, or brain swelling.

According to fascinating new research, however, Lee’s death could have been caused by drinking too much water.

As per Variety, a study by a group of kidney specialists in Spain proposes that Lee’s cause of death was in fact due to his “kidney’s inability to excrete excess water.”

According to the study, Lee had “multiple risk factors for hyponatraemia,” which occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. The actor and martial artist’s “chronic fluid intake” was cited as a main factor that may have interfered with his kidney’s function.

“We hypothesise that Bruce Lee died from a specific form of kidney dysfunction: the inability to excrete enough water to maintain water homeostasis… . This may lead to hyponatraemia, cerebral oedema and death within hours if excess water intake is not matched by water excretion in urine,” the research paper states.

“Given that hyponatraemia is frequent, as is found in up to 40% of hospitalized persons and may cause death due to excessive water ingestion even in young healthy persons, there is a need for a wider dissemination of the concept that excessive water intake can kill.”

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The study’s proposal should prove interesting to Lee’s still-fervent fanbase, who have spent the decades since his death speculating about what truly caused it. Other theories included that Lee had been assassinated, while a 2018 book suggested that heat exhaustion was actually the cause.

The full Bruce Lee study can be viewed via the December 2022 edition of the Clinical Kidney Journal.

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