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After a 12-year-battle with brain cancer, Joseph Lee has passed away.
Lee, 31, was the nephew of veteran actress Hong Huifang, Shin Min Daily News (SMDN) reported. Hong also acknowledged him as her godson.
He was diagnosed at 19 years old, when he was still studying at a polytechnic.
According to Lee's mother, who spoke to the Chinese daily at his wake, the then-student had suddenly vomited violently in school one day.
Doctors subsequently discovered a tumour the size of an egg pressing on his nerve, and he was diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer.
Lee saw improvement after undergoing surgery and radiotherapy, and he was declared cancer-free in 2015, after five years.
The family celebrated the good news, but it turned out to be only a reprieve—Lee relapsed two months later, and the cancer had spread to his lungs, spine, and lymph nodes.
Lee was not afraid of death, his family recounted.
When asked about it, Lee apparently answered, "I've been living [with the cancer] for so many years, all this time is already a bonus to me."
Hong posted to her Facebook, saying that her angel has left.
Her husband, actor Zheng Geping, wrote a tribute on his Instagram page as well.
Although saddened by Lee's departure, Zheng is comforted that his nephew is now in a painless place.
Calling him a "a role model" who has inspired and motivated many, the actor said,
"Many people have seen u suffered during most of your 31 years, but actually u were the strongest & bravest person I have ever met! [...] U were a simple, kind hearted, loving and a very sweet boy since young. Even when u were very sick & in great pain, u never shows. (sic)"
Top image via Zheng Geping and Hong Huifang's Instagram pages
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