Bruce Lee may have died from drinking too much water.
Doctors are making the claim almost 50 years after the martial arts icon died aged 32 in the summer of 1973 in Hong Kong.
An autopsy from the time showed the ‘Enter the Dragon’ star had been killed by brain swelling, which medics blamed on him taking a painkiller.
Researchers have now reviewed the evidence and concluded Bruce is more likely to have died from hyponatraemia.
A team of experts wrote in the Clinical Kidney Journal: “In other words, we propose that the kidney’s inability to excrete excess water killed Bruce Lee.
“We hypothesize that Bruce Lee died from a specific form of kidney dysfunction: the inability to excrete enough water to maintain water homeostasis, which is mainly a tubular function.
“This may lead to hyponatraemia, cerebral oedema (brain swelling) and death within hours if excess water intake is not matched by water excretion in urine, which is in line with the timeline of Lee’s demise... ironically, Lee made famous the quote, ‘Be water, my friend’, but excess water appears to have ultimately killed him.”
The study claimed Bruce had multiple risk factors for hyponatraemia, including drinking high quantities of liquid and using cannabis, which increases thirst.
Hyponatremia means sodium level in blood, which people need for fluid balance, is abnormally low.
The imbalance causes cells in the body to swell, including those in the brain.
Bruce’s death has been surrounded for decades by conspiracy theories that include he may have been assassinated by Chinese gangsters, poisoned by a jealous lover or was the victim of a curse.
His wife Linda Lee, 77, revealed the kung-fu expert had a fluid-based diet of carrot and apple juice before his death.
Matthew Polly, who wrote the 2018 biography ‘Bruce Lee, A Life’ referred to Bruce’s repeated water intake on the evening of his death.
Bruce has been reported to have frequently used cannabis and in one letter described himself as “stoned as hell”.
Bruce collapsed in May 1973, with a doctor diagnosing him with cerebral oedema and the martial artist admitted that he had eaten Nepalese hash before the incident.