‘Parasite’ actor Lee Sun-kyun dies at age 48
By Michelle De Pacina
December 27, 2023
South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun, known for his role in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite,” has died at age 48.
Cause of death: Lee was found dead in Seoul on Wednesday, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Police found his body next to charcoal briquettes inside a parked car in central Seoul just before 11 a.m. local time after his manager reported him missing. According to Jeon Yu-deung, the chief detective at Seongbuk police station, the actor left what appeared to be a suicide note, suggesting a possible suicide. The police are currently investigating his death as a suicide.
Lee’s alleged drug use: Lee was under investigation for alleged illegal drug use in the midst of a government crackdown on drugs. He had been questioned three times by the police in Incheon since October, but he denied the accusations and claimed to be a victim of blackmail by a bar hostess.
South Korea has strict drug laws, with convicted offenders facing six months to 14 years in prison. The government has intensified enforcement efforts, leading to a significant increase in drug-related arrests, reaching more than 17,000 in the current year, compared to about 10,400 in 2019.
About Lee: Lee, who was born in 1975, gained prominence in Korean television with dramas like “Coffee Prince” and “Behind the White Tower.” He also played lead roles in various series, including “Pasta,” “Helpless” and “My Mister.” Lee achieved global acclaim for his role in the 2019 film “Parasite,” which won four Academy Awards, including for best picture. In 2022, he received a best actor nomination at the International Emmy Awards for his performance in Apple TV+’s first Korean-language series “Dr. Brain.”
Lee is survived by his wife, two sons and siblings. His talent agency, Hodu&U Entertainment, announced a private funeral for family and colleagues.
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