Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun from ‘Parasite’ passes away

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

Acclaimed South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun, renowned for his role in the Oscar-winning film Parasite, has been discovered lifeless in a car at a prominent Seoul park.

The 48 year old actor was found unconscious today, December 27, and while it remains unclear whether he took his own life, reports suggest he left a note before departing his home. Lee had been under investigation for alleged drug use since October, with suspicions arising from an incident at a Seoul bar involving a mysterious substance.

Yonhap news outlet disclosed that the Parasite actor was suspected of drug use during his encounters with an establishment employee. He claimed ignorance, insisting he was unaware that the substances given to him were illicit. The hostess, however, countered, alleging multiple instances of drug use at her residence—a claim vehemently denied by Lee, who had even sought to prove his innocence with a lie detector test.

Despite negative or inconclusive drug test results, Lee faced significant damage to his reputation. The police expressed regret for his untimely demise amidst ongoing investigations, asserting that the proceedings were conducted with Lee’s consent.

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Lee’s agency, HODU&U Entertainment, issued a poignant statement.

“There is no way to contain the sorrow and despair. We respectfully ask that you refrain from spreading false facts based on speculation… so that [Lee’s] final journey will not be unfair.”

Married to actress Jeon Hye-jin and a father of two sons, Lee Sun-kyun’s acting career spanned over two decades, solidifying his status as a household name through the 2010s. The pinnacle of his international fame came with Parasite, where he portrayed Park Dong-ik, the patriarch of a wealthy family infiltrated by impostors from a poor family. The film’s historic sweep of four Oscars, including Best Picture in 2020, marked a milestone for non-English language cinema, reported BBC News.

The drug investigation had far-reaching consequences for Lee, leading to his removal from the TV series No Way Out. In South Korea, drug offences, even marijuana use, are considered severe crimes with potential prison sentences of up to five years. President Yoon Suk Yeol has pledged a robust crackdown on drugs, expanding the country’s drug crimes department to wage a total war against drug-related crimes.

Thailand NewsWorld News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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