Phi Nhung, Vietnamese American musical icon, passes away from COVID-19

Phi Nhung passes away

On Tuesday, Vietnamese American singer Phi Nhung passed away after a month-long battle with COVID-19 at Cho Ray Hospital in Saigon.

Heartbreaking news: Before she passed away, the 51-year-old singer was undergoing multiple different treatments, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) intervention, for COVID-19, according to VN Express.

  • Many Vietnamese celebrities shared positive messages and prayers for Nhung days before her death, including Vietnamese American singer Trizzie Phuong Trinh, Morning Express reported. 
  • Trinh posted a picture of her and the late singer with the caption: “Phi Nhung, you must not give up! I said that if I want to be like you, I must be strong. Wendy and her children really need you, do you understand??”
  • Upon hearing about her death, fans took to social media to mourn the loss of the Vietnamese music icon.

  • Nhung was supposed to travel to the U.S. to reunite with her daughter but had delayed her plans in order to volunteer in Vietnam to help the Southeast Asian country’s battle against the pandemic.
  • Doctors described Nhung as being a fearless fighter until her final breath. Before her death, she worried for her adopted children living in a pagoda in Southern Binh Phuoc Province. Nhung has a daughter in the U.S. and 23 adopted daughters in Vietnam.

About the Vietnamese-American icon: Nhung came from a family with no background in music. She was born in April of 1970 to a Vietnamese mother and an American serviceman father.

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  • The then -17-year-old Nhung moved and settled with her relatives in Tampa, Florida, where she struggled to make a living working as a waitress. However, she did not let her passion as a singer fade.
  • She eventually moved to California to start her singing career after being persuaded by Trinh. Nhung was reportedly a single mother and working as a seamstress when she relocated with only $300 in her pocket, according to Morning Express.
  • Nhung sent her daughter to stay with an acquaintance while she lived with Trinh in California. She worked at a CD store during the day and as a waitress at night, all while learning how to sing with a northern Vietnamese intonation.
  • Nhung then released her first singles “Noi Buon Hoa Phuong” (“Phoenix Flower’s Sadness”) and “Noi Lai Tinh Xua” (“Rekindled Old Love”) two years later. Her 1999 music video for “Ly Con Sao Bac Lieu” (“Song About Bac Lieu Blackbird”) became a massive hit on release. 
  • She was also a frequent performer on the wildly popular “Paris by Night” musical variety series.
  • Besides being an iconic singer in Vietnam, Nhung also became known for her philanthropy in her last years as she sought to help a lot of people from mountainous areas and flooded regions. Nhung also cooked and gave food to the poor in Ho Chi Minh City during the pandemic.

Featured Image via HƯƠNG TÌNH XƯA (left), Morning Express (right)

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