As a result of his role in the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite,” Lee Sun-kyun became famous all over the world. He was found dead in Seoul on Wednesday. He was 48 years old.
Police were looking into Mr. Lee because they thought he might be using illegal drugs. He rejected the claims. The cops said they thought the death might have been a suicide.
Jeon Yu-deung, the top detective at Seongbuk police station, who is in charge of the investigation into Mr. Lee’s death, said that the body was found in a parked car in central Seoul just before 11 AM.
Mr. Lee’s manager told the cops earlier that day that he was missing, and they used the location signal from his phone to find his body.
He told Mr. Jeon that Mr. Lee had also left what looked like a suicide note.
Mr. Lee’s wife, two kids, and siblings will miss him, Mr. Jeon said. His management company, Hodu&U Entertainment, said in a statement that his family and coworkers would be present at a private burial.
Mr. Lee was born in Seoul in 1975. He went to the Korea National University of Arts to study acting and made his acting debut in a music video in 1999.
His roles in the 2007 Korean series “Coffee Prince” and “Behind the White Tower” made him well-known on TV. He also played the lead in the rom-com “Pasta” in 2010, the horror “Helpless” in 2012, and the psychological drama “My Mister” in 2018.
In the 2019 thriller “Parasite,” in which Mr. Lee played the head of a rich family whose home most of the movie takes place, he won praise all over the world.
Four awards were given to that movie at the 2020 Academy Awards. It was the first non-English film to win best picture. The Screen Actors Guild gave him and his co-stars an award for their work.
At the foreign Emmys in 2022, Mr. Lee was up for best actor for his part in the sci-fi thriller “Dr. Brain.”
Since October, Mr. Lee had been questioned by police several times in Incheon, a city west of Seoul, on suspicion that he was using drugs.
In several public comments, he denied the charges and said that he was the target of an attempt to blackmail him.
“I ask that the police make a good judgment about whose side’s statements are credible between me and the blackmailers,” Lee Sun-kyun, ‘Parasite’ Actor, Dies at 48 this week following a 19-hour interrogation.
In the middle of a national campaign against drugs, drug abuse scandals have recently shaken South Korea’s entertainment industry.
Yoo Ah-in, who is known for his part in the 2021 Netflix show “Hellbound,” had his home searched by police in March after he tested positive for propofol, marijuana, ketamine, and cocaine.
South Korea has strict rules about drugs. The sentence for criminals is between six months and fourteen years in jail.
People from the United States can be charged with drug crimes even if they do them abroad.
Recently, the government has stepped up regulation, saying that the problem is getting worse.
There have been a lot more drug arrests since President Yoon Suk Yeol announced a “war on drugs.”
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The National Police Agency says that more than 17,000 people were arrested across the country this year on drug charges. That’s up from about 10,400 in 2019.
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