Park Yong-Ha - Suicide?

June 30, 2010

A South Korean actor and singer who rode the wave of Korean pop culture in Asia was found dead at his home in Seoul Wednesday in an apparent suicide, police said.

Park Yong-Ha, 33, was found in his room by his mother after he apparently hanged himself with an electrical cord, KBS TV said.

Police said it appeared to be a suicide but declined to comment on whether Park had left any note.

Park spent his last moments Tuesday night with his father, who is suffering from cancer, KBS said.

He reportedly massaged his father for a long while before leaving with the words: "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Park shot to fame through the 2002 hit TV drama series "Winter Sonata" and won fans in Japan and other Asian countries. He also released albums as a singer.

He had been chosen for the leading role in a Korean television drama, a remake of the popular 1996 Hong Kong film, "Comrades, Almost a Love Story". Shooting was set to begin in July.

If confirmed, Park would be the latest of a number of entertainers to kill themselves. They include top movie actress Lee Eun-Joo who committed suicide in 2005 and Choi Jin-Sil who died in 2008.

Suicide is the highest cause of death among those in their twenties and thirties in South Korea, which in 2007 had the highest suicide rate among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The health ministry says 23.9 in every 100,000 South Koreans committed suicide in 2007, compared with 19.4 in Japan, 16.7 in Finland, 14.2 in France and 14.0 in Switzerland.

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