Actor from Parasite Discovered Dead

( – South Korean audiences became familiar with award-winning actor Lee Sun-kyun much sooner than the rest of the world, who finally caught up with his talent in the Palme d’Or and Academy Award-winning film “Parasite” in 2020. The film became the first non-English language movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Yet, on December 27, Seoul police discovered Lee, 48, dead in his car of an apparent suicide.

The turn of events came after a months-long investigation into the celebrated actor for illegal drug use. Police first questioned Lee in October, according to the Yonhap News Agency. They received a tip that a bar in the Gangnam district was illegally distributing illicit drugs. Lee claimed that a hostess at the bar had tricked him into consuming substances, including marijuana, without his knowledge or consent and then proceeded to blackmail him. Lee filed a formal complaint against the hostess and an accomplice and followed up with a lawsuit.

Police questioned Lee twice more, and he submitted to drug testing, which authorities admitted came back negative or inconclusive, according to the National Forensic Service. The most recent interrogation occurred on December 23, when police held the actor for 19 hours before releasing him. South Korea maintains stringent drug laws, and allegations have driven celebrities into obscurity in the past.

Police are continuing to pursue a case against the two people Lee accused of drugging and blackmailing him. Lee’s attorney had insisted his client take a polygraph test to prove his innocence and challenged the hostess to do the same.

According to Lee’s manager, the actor left a suicide note at his home before taking his car and leaving. His family and manager notified the police, who began searching for him. It appeared that Lee had burned a charcoal briquette inside his vehicle with the windows up. He had parked his car in a park in central Seoul, and a patrol didn’t find the vehicle until around 10:30 a.m. local time.

At first, officers thought the occupant was simply unconscious. However, first responders declared him dead at the scene and transported his body to Seoul National University Hospital. The family declined an autopsy and has asked for privacy through the actor’s representatives. Police extended their condolences to the family, saying they tried to protect Lee’s privacy from media leaks.

The revered actor leaves his wife, actress Jeon Hye-jin, and two sons behind.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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