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Published: Wednesday June 30, 2010 MYT 10:24:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday June 30, 2010 MYT 11:15:39 AM

Winter Sonata star dies in apparent suicide

SEOUL: A popular South Korean actor and singer was found dead Wednesday in an apparent suicide, police and a news report said.

Park Yong-ha, 33, apparently hanged himself in his home in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported, citing police.

Park Yong-ha, 33, found dead in his home in Seoul

An official with Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency told The Associated Press that Park was found hanging by the electric cord of his mobile phone battery charger. However, police were still trying to determine the exact cause of death, the official said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

Park debuted in the late 1990s and starred in the 2002 television drama “Winter Sonata,” which drummed up a following in Japan and Southeast Asia. He held several concerts in Japan and one of his fans was said to be its former first lady Akie Abe.

Yonhap reported no suicide note was found but that Park told his family “I’m sorry. I’m sorry” while massaging his father, who is terminally ill with stomach cancer, early Wednesday.

South Korea has the highest suicide rate among the 30 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and a number of high-profile people have killed themselves in recent years.

Choi Jin-sil, one of South Korea’s most famous actresses, committed suicide two years ago. In March, her younger brother, Choi Jin-young, also an actor, killed himself in Seoul.

Former President Roh Moo-hyun jumped to his death last May while embroiled in a widening corruption scandal, and the ex-chairman of South Korea’s oldest conglomerate, Park Yong-oh of the Doosan Group, killed himself in November.

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