'Parasite' star Lee Sun-kyun found dead at 48

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By Asiya Ali

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South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun - best known for his role in the Academy Award-winning film Parasite - has reportedly passed away.

As reported by Yonhap news agency, the 48-year-old actor was identified by Seoul Police after a man in his 40s was found unconscious in a car park at 10:30AM on Wednesday (December 27).

A charcoal briquette, which can cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, was reportedly discovered in the passenger seat of the vehicle.

Authorities confirmed Lee's identity following a search initiated by his manager, who contacted them after he went to Lee's home in Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul.

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Actor Lee Sun Kyun sadly died on December 27. Credit: Barry Brecheisen / Getty

According to BBC News, the late actor was found after his wife, actress Jeon Hye-jin, reportedly found what appeared to be a suicide note after he left their residence. Police are now investigating whether the actor died by suicide.

Lee had been under investigation for alleged drug use since October after he was suspected of taking drugs such as marijuana and ketamine with a hostess at a bar in Seoul.

The actor reportedly admitted that though he took what she gave him, he had not known that they were illegal drugs. However, the unnamed hostess in her 20s asserted that Lee used the pills at her home several times - something he denied.

After enduring 19 hours of rigorous police interrogation on Saturday (December 23), Lee reportedly indicated that a lie detector test be used to confirm the truth between him and the host. His drug tests had returned negative or inconclusive results.

In addition to this, Lee had filed a complaint against the woman and two other people, alleging that they had blackmailed and extorted 350 million won [$270,000] from him, News1 Korea reported.

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Lee Sun-kyun. Credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty

The actor - who shared two young sons with Jeon Hye-jin, had a career spanning more than two decades.

A graduate of South Korea’s prestigious Korea National University of Arts, Lee starred as the lead in numerous movies, such as the 2012 thriller Helpless and the 2014 film All About My Wife.

He rose to international fame with his portrayal as the patriarch of the wealthy Park family in Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite. The film went on to become the first non-English language movie to win the Best Picture Oscar.

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Lee Sun Kyun starred in director Bong Joon-ho's Parasite. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty

The father of two's agency, HODU&U Entertainment, issued a statement about his sudden death, writing: "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."

"The funeral will be held quietly with the bereaved family and colleagues in attendance. We express our deepest condolences on the deceased's final journey," they added.

Many fans have now taken to social media to mourn Lee, and are sharing some of their favourite performances from the late star.

One fan wrote: "Lee Sun-Kyun was a great actor. First introduced to him via R-Point as a kid, then he exploded with Parasite. At this last Fantastic Fest with Sleep and Project Silence he really cemented himself as a compelling leading man. Thoughts are with his family during this tragic time."

Another said: "Actor Lee Sun-kyun (March 2, 1975 - December 27, 2023). May he rest in peace. Among his many wonderful projects, Lee was praiseworthy in 'Parasite' and exceptional in 'My Mister.' May he be remembered for his excellent work and creative gifts."

A third commented: "I’m so sad to wake up to the news of Lee Sun-kyun’s passing. Apart from playing a major part in the biggest South Korean film of all time he also gifted us some incredible performances as anti-heroes in A HARD DAY and JO PIL-HO: THE DAWNING RAGE. He will be missed."

Our thoughts are with Lee's family, friends, and fans at this devastating time.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org

Featured image credit: Dia Dipasupil / Getty

'Parasite' star Lee Sun-kyun found dead at 48

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun - best known for his role in the Academy Award-winning film Parasite - has reportedly passed away.

As reported by Yonhap news agency, the 48-year-old actor was identified by Seoul Police after a man in his 40s was found unconscious in a car park at 10:30AM on Wednesday (December 27).

A charcoal briquette, which can cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, was reportedly discovered in the passenger seat of the vehicle.

Authorities confirmed Lee's identity following a search initiated by his manager, who contacted them after he went to Lee's home in Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul.

wp-image-1263241785 size-full
Actor Lee Sun Kyun sadly died on December 27. Credit: Barry Brecheisen / Getty

According to BBC News, the late actor was found after his wife, actress Jeon Hye-jin, reportedly found what appeared to be a suicide note after he left their residence. Police are now investigating whether the actor died by suicide.

Lee had been under investigation for alleged drug use since October after he was suspected of taking drugs such as marijuana and ketamine with a hostess at a bar in Seoul.

The actor reportedly admitted that though he took what she gave him, he had not known that they were illegal drugs. However, the unnamed hostess in her 20s asserted that Lee used the pills at her home several times - something he denied.

After enduring 19 hours of rigorous police interrogation on Saturday (December 23), Lee reportedly indicated that a lie detector test be used to confirm the truth between him and the host. His drug tests had returned negative or inconclusive results.

In addition to this, Lee had filed a complaint against the woman and two other people, alleging that they had blackmailed and extorted 350 million won [$270,000] from him, News1 Korea reported.

wp-image-1263241787 size-full
Lee Sun-kyun. Credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty

The actor - who shared two young sons with Jeon Hye-jin, had a career spanning more than two decades.

A graduate of South Korea’s prestigious Korea National University of Arts, Lee starred as the lead in numerous movies, such as the 2012 thriller Helpless and the 2014 film All About My Wife.

He rose to international fame with his portrayal as the patriarch of the wealthy Park family in Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite. The film went on to become the first non-English language movie to win the Best Picture Oscar.

wp-image-1263241786 size-full
Lee Sun Kyun starred in director Bong Joon-ho's Parasite. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty

The father of two's agency, HODU&U Entertainment, issued a statement about his sudden death, writing: "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."

"The funeral will be held quietly with the bereaved family and colleagues in attendance. We express our deepest condolences on the deceased's final journey," they added.

Many fans have now taken to social media to mourn Lee, and are sharing some of their favourite performances from the late star.

One fan wrote: "Lee Sun-Kyun was a great actor. First introduced to him via R-Point as a kid, then he exploded with Parasite. At this last Fantastic Fest with Sleep and Project Silence he really cemented himself as a compelling leading man. Thoughts are with his family during this tragic time."

Another said: "Actor Lee Sun-kyun (March 2, 1975 - December 27, 2023). May he rest in peace. Among his many wonderful projects, Lee was praiseworthy in 'Parasite' and exceptional in 'My Mister.' May he be remembered for his excellent work and creative gifts."

A third commented: "I’m so sad to wake up to the news of Lee Sun-kyun’s passing. Apart from playing a major part in the biggest South Korean film of all time he also gifted us some incredible performances as anti-heroes in A HARD DAY and JO PIL-HO: THE DAWNING RAGE. He will be missed."

Our thoughts are with Lee's family, friends, and fans at this devastating time.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org

Featured image credit: Dia Dipasupil / Getty