Lee Sun-kyun, an award-winning South Korean actor and star of the Academy Award-winning film “Parasite,” is dead at 48.
The South Korean police revealed on Wednesday that they are considering his death a suicide. According to Jeon Yu-deung, the chief detective at Seongbuk police station, The police discovered Lee in his car on Wednesday morning at approximately 11 a.m. while following up on a missing person report issued by Lee’s manager on their hotline. They also found a suicide note in the vehicle.
According to the Incheon City Police, Lee is survived by his wife, two sons, and siblings. Furthermore, Lee’s talent agency, Hodu&U Entertainment, released a statement stating that a quiet funeral will be held for Lee with family members and colleagues in attendance. Mr. Lee gained international acclaim for his role in 2019’s “Parasite.” In which he played the head of a wealthy family whose privilege blinds them to the discontent of those around them. Parasite became the first non-English movie to win best picture at the Academy Awards in 2020.
Prior to his passing, the Incheon City Police were investigating the “Parasite”star over drug use allegations. They had summoned him three times, starting in October 2023. The most recent occurred on December 23, in which the police held him for 19 hours. Incheon police said that his drug tests consistently remained negative throughout the investigation. On his part, Lee refuted the accusations and alleged that some people were attempting to blackmail him. Stating that someone tricked him into using drugs and subsequently blackmailed him. In a statement made this week, he said:
“I ask that the police make a good judgment about whose side’s statements are credible between me and the blackmailers.”
Further, the police revealed that Lee filed a lawsuit against the alleged blackmailer after they received a tip concerning his alleged drug use. Adding to that, they arrested two people in relation to Lee’s drug investigation. The police then offered their condolences to Lee’s bereaved family.
South Korea has strict laws regulating drug use within the country. Law enforcement can also prosecute citizens for using illicit drugs abroad. Furthermore, the penalty for drug use ranges from six months to 14 years in prison.