Oscar-Winning Film Actor Dead at 48

(LibertySociety.com) – Oscar-winning South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun was found dead on December 27 near a Seoul city park. While police are still investigating the matter, his death appears to be the result of suicide. They received reports that he wrote a note shortly before leaving home that day.

Lee’s body was transported to Seoul National University Hospital, but his family declined to have a medical examiner conduct an autopsy. Lee is most widely known for his role in the movie Parasite, which won four Oscars back in 2020. He was a central character in the satirical film, playing the role of a wealthy husband whose family was scammed into hiring various individuals as employees who turned out to be related to one another.

Authorities opened an investigation into Lee back in October after he was accused of illegal drug use. According to the Yonhap news agency, he admitted to taking substances, reportedly marijuana and ketamine, that were given to him by a bar hostess. However, he claimed that he did not know they were illegal drugs. Yonhap also reported that the hostess said Lee visited her home several times and took drugs while he was there. He denied her claims and his attorney requested a lie-detector test to prove he was being truthful. Lee left behind his wife, actress Jeon Hye-jin, and their two young sons.

Although Lee had not been convicted of any crimes, his reputation was already suffering from the suspected drug use. He was axed from a new TV series that had just begun filming in October, and posters depicting the actor were removed from various store windows. South Korea has very strict drug laws, even for marijuana. Offenders can spend up to five years in prison simply for consuming marijuana.

The President of South Korea recently promised to take a tougher approach to dealing with drug offenders, and the nation’s police chief declared “a total war” on offenses related to drugs and drug use. Lee is one of several South Korean celebrities who have been investigated for drug use. G-Dragon, who is a popular K-pop artist, was exonerated of accusations related to drug use in December. Another actor named Yoo Ah-in is on trial for multiple drug use charges, including using propofol a reported 181 times between 2020 and 2022.

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