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Lee Sun-kyun, the acclaimed actor who played the wealthy patriarch in the Oscar-winning film ‘Parasite’, was found dead
Lee Sun-kyun, the acclaimed actor who played the wealthy patriarch in the Oscar-winning film ‘Parasite’, was found dead in his car on Monday, in what appears to be a suicide amid a drug investigation.
According to the police, Lee’s body was discovered around 10 a.m. in a parking lot in Seoul, with a note and a charcoal briquette inside the vehicle. The note, which was later released by the media, expressed his despair and remorse over his involvement in a drug scandal that had been plaguing him for months.
“I’m sorry for causing trouble to everyone. I can’t bear the pain and humiliation any longer. I have no choice but to end my life. Please forgive me,” the note read.
Lee, 48, was one of the eight suspects who were being investigated by the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency for allegedly using illegal drugs multiple times this year. He was also accused of being blackmailed by one of the suspects, who reportedly extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from him.
Lee had filed a complaint against the blackmailer in October, but the police had not made any arrests or cleared his name. He had been summoned by the police several times for questioning, and was reportedly under constant surveillance and harassment.
Lee’s agency, HODU&U, issued a statement confirming his death and expressing their sorrow and regret. “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Lee Sun-kyun’s death. He was a talented and beloved actor who had a bright future ahead of him. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and fans. We ask for your respect and understanding during this difficult time,” the statement said.
Lee was best known for his role as Park Dong-ik in ‘Parasite’, the black comedy film by Bong Joon-ho that won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 2020. He also starred in other critically acclaimed films, such as ‘Helpless’, ‘All About My Wife’, ‘A Hard Day’, and ‘Nobody’s Daughter Haewon’. He was also a popular TV actor, who appeared in hit dramas like ‘Coffee Prince’, ‘Pasta’, ‘My Mister’, and ‘Dr. Brain’.
Lee’s death has sparked an outpouring of grief and anger from the public, the fans, and the film industry, who mourned the loss of a brilliant and versatile actor. Many also questioned the role of the police and the media in his death, and called for a thorough and fair investigation into the drug case.
A Drug Scandal That Shook the Entertainment Industry-Lee Sun-kyun Found Dead
Lee’s death came amid a drug probe that had been going on since September, when the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency received a tip-off about illegal drug circulation in Gangnam nightclubs. The police raided several bars and clubs in the upscale district of Seoul, and seized drugs, cash, and mobile phones from the suspects.
Among the eight people who were booked for allegedly using drugs, there were some prominent figures, such as a third-generation scion of a conglomerate family, a would-be entertainer, and a hostess who worked at a high-end bar. The hostess, identified only by her surname Kim, was the key figure in the case, as she was accused of supplying drugs to the other suspects, including Lee.
According to the police, Lee and Kim had met at the bar where she worked, and had developed a close relationship. Kim allegedly invited Lee to her home several times since early this year, and offered him marijuana and other illegal drugs. Lee reportedly accepted the drugs, unaware of Kim’s ulterior motive.
Kim, who had secretly recorded Lee’s drug use, later blackmailed him for money, threatening to expose his scandal to the media. Lee, who was afraid of ruining his reputation and career, paid Kim hundreds of thousands of dollars over several months. However, Kim did not stop her extortion, and demanded more money from Lee.
In October, Lee filed a complaint against Kim, hoping to end her blackmail. He also confessed to the police that he had used drugs with Kim, and expressed his willingness to cooperate with the investigation. However, the police did not arrest Kim, nor did they clear Lee’s name. Instead, they continued to summon Lee for questioning, and leaked his involvement in the case to the media.
Lee’s drug scandal shocked the public and the fans, who had admired him for his versatile and charismatic acting. He had been one of the most sought-after actors in Korea, especially after his role in ‘Parasite’, the first non-English film to win the Best Picture Oscar. He had also been praised for his humble and down-to-earth personality, and his happy marriage with actress Jeon Hye-jin, with whom he had two children.
Lee’s agency, HODU&U, tried to protect him from the media frenzy, and asked for his privacy and understanding. They also said that Lee had tested negative in a simple drug test, and that they were waiting for the results of a more accurate test from the National Forensic Service. However, Lee’s mental health deteriorated as he faced constant pressure and scrutiny from the police and the media. He felt hopeless and ashamed, and decided to end his life.
A Tragic Loss That Raises Many Questions-Lee Sun-kyun Found Dead
Lee Sun-kyun’s death has left a huge void in the Korean film industry, and a deep sorrow in the hearts of his fans and colleagues. He was a talented and respected actor, who had achieved international fame and acclaim with his role in ‘Parasite’. He was also a loving husband and father, who had a happy family life.
However, his life was turned upside down by a drug scandal, that involved him and seven other suspects. He was allegedly blackmailed by a hostess, who supplied him with drugs and recorded his drug use. He filed a complaint against her, but the police did not arrest her, nor did they clear his name. He was subjected to constant pressure and scrutiny from the police and the media, and felt hopeless and ashamed. He decided to end his life, leaving behind a note that expressed his despair and remorse.
Lee’s death has raised many questions about the role of the police and the media in his case. Why did the police not arrest the blackmailer, who had extorted money from Lee for months? Why did they leak his involvement in the case to the media, before confirming his guilt or innocence? Why did they not protect his privacy and dignity, as a victim of blackmail? Why did the media sensationalize his scandal, without verifying the facts or considering the consequences? How did they affect his mental health and reputation, with their relentless coverage and speculation?
Lee’s death has also highlighted the issue of drug use and abuse in the entertainment industry, and the society at large. How prevalent is drug use among celebrities and ordinary people? What are the causes and effects of drug addiction? How can we prevent and treat drug problems? How can we support and help those who are struggling with drug issues? How can we create a more compassionate and understanding environment for them?
Lee’s death is a tragic loss that could have been prevented, if only he had received more help and less judgment. He deserved better, as an actor and as a human being. We hope that his death will not be in vain, and that it will lead to positive changes and reforms in the system and the culture. We also hope that he will rest in peace, and that his family and friends will find comfort and strength.
As Lee once said in an interview, “I want to live a life that is meaningful and happy, not just successful and famous. I want to be remembered as someone who did his best, and who loved his work and his family.”