- South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun declared dead at the age of 48
- Lee was under investigation for illegal drug use allegations
- He previously claimed to be blackmailed by a bar hostess regarding drug use
Well-known South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun has been pronounced dead, surrounded by shocking personal details. Seoul police announced the news, revealing that Lee had been under investigation for allegations of illegal drug use, as the government continues its crackdown. Lee was discovered unconscious next to charcoal briquettes in a car at a Seoul park, following his wife’s report to the police that she had found what seemed to be a suicide note.
Lee had been interrogated for 19 hours by the police before Christmas. He had been previously questioned on the same case on October 28th and November 4th, as reported by The Korea Times. Lee alleged that a bar hostess who he had taken drugs with was blackmailing him. Following the weekend interrogation, he stated, “I feel like it is a bit too late, but I’ve finished the questioning by the police about the blackmail case. I hope the police wisely determine which statements are more reliable between mine and the blackmailers.”
South Korea is known for its strict drug laws, even prohibiting citizens from consuming cannabis while in other countries where it is legal. Drug use can result in imprisonment for several months or even up to 14 years. Suicide by charcoal, most likely used by Lee, is more common in Asian countries; South Korean pop stars Kim Jong-hyun and Goo Hara have employed similar methods, as well as Chinese pop star Du Yuwei and Brad Delp, the lead singer of Boston.
Before gaining international fame through films like Paju, Helpless, and A Hard Day, Lee Sun-kyun appeared in various South Korean television shows. The actor worked with acclaimed director Hong Sang-soo, which helped him gain recognition on the festival circuit. He became well-known worldwide for his role as a wealthy father in Bong Joon-ho’s film, Parasite; the first international movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Lee is survived by his wife, Jeon Hye-jin, and their two children.