I wasn't a very big fan, but a lot of my friends in school were, so he was very much a part of my past.
In the late 80's, early 90's, there was a mass exodus out of Hong Kong because of the return of territory to the Republic of China in 1997. This brought a huge wave of immigrants and their children to the Greater Vancouver Region in BC. Moreso to Richmond, BC, where Feng Shui had pegged it to be a prosperous business centre and thriving community because it is "shaped like a dragon with a pearl in its mouth", but there was a marked increase in Cantonese speaking Chinese families and students in schools all over the GVRD.
With these students, came the popular culture. Leslie Cheung and Allan Tam were the two big names in male pop stars. Leslie was the more popular of the two. I think this was the first time any HK entertainment artist had such a mass female fan following.
The fervor was incredible. When his hit single "Monica" came out (chorus: Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks... Monica... 誰能代替妳地位), apparently, women were legally changing their names to "Monica" in droves... which is a bit amusing to me because the real Monica lady in his life was his old nanny.
He was a cutie with his baby boy face - women prefer guys with younger/boyish features because they're less threatening and all that. This was just before The Big Four of Canto Pop - Andy Lau, Aaron Kwok, Leon Lai and Jackie Cheung. They aren't a "boy band", they're individual artists. But they were the result of the same kind of marketing and packaging.
I remember his farewell album. He did the Chinese remix of two Paula Abdul songs, "Cold Hearted" and I forget the other one, as well as Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much" and some others. The Chinese versions of English hits were the only songs I could really identify with and I really only listened to them to see the translations. That was probably the first time I had a reason to learn Chinese =)
Ah well... =\ It had crossed my mind that this could be an April Fools joke. *shrug* No big deal if it is.
Leslie 張國榮, 1956 - 2003