South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun, internationally recognized for his performance in the Academy Award-winning film “Parasite,” has passed away amid an ongoing investigation into alleged illegal drug use, as confirmed by police on Wednesday. The actor was 48 years old.
According to authorities in Seoul, a missing person report was filed by Lee’s manager, leading to the discovery of the actor in his car on Wednesday morning. The police have preliminarily attributed the cause of death to suicide.
Photographs from the scene depict forensic personnel examining a vehicle surrounded by police tape. Incheon police disclosed that Lee had been subject to questioning three times since October as part of a drug-use investigation. His most recent encounter with the police occurred on December 23, when he was detained for 19 hours before being released the following day.
Despite multiple drug tests conducted throughout the investigation, all results were negative, as stated by Incheon police, who did not specify the number of tests performed. Lee maintained that he had been deceived into drug use and subsequently blackmailed by the same individual, leading him to file a lawsuit against the alleged blackmailer. Police reported receiving a tip about his drug use prior to the lawsuit.
Two individuals, one man and one woman, have been arrested in connection to the ongoing drug investigation. On December 26, Lee had requested a polygraph examination for himself and two others apprehended by the police, as confirmed by his lawyers.
Expressing condolences to Lee’s grieving family, the police emphasized their efforts to prevent premature media leaks about the drug investigation, adhering to South Korean law, which prohibits the release of information about a suspect before a public indictment.
Lee’s agency, Hodu & U Entertainment, announced that a private funeral would be held with family members and colleagues in attendance. The agency expressed profound sorrow over the actor’s untimely passing and urged against the spread of unverified information.
Lee Sun-kyun gained widespread acclaim for his portrayal of Park Dong-ik in “Parasite” and received accolades for his roles in television series such as “Behind the White Tower” (2007), “Pasta” (2010), and the sci-fi thriller “Dr. Brain,” earning him a nomination for an International Emmy Award.