‘Parasite’ Star Lee Sun-kyun Found Dead Inside Car, Cops Confirm

Actor Lee Sun-kyun, known to global audiences primarily for his role in the 2019 Oscar-winning film Parasite, was found dead Wednesday, South Korea’s emergency office announced. He was 48.

Lee was found inside a car at a Seoul park in an apparent suicide, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap. Lee’s wife had notified police that he had left home, and that she had found what resembled a suicide note, according to the report.

According to the Associated Press, police would not confirm if the death was suicide.

Lee’s management confirmed his death to ABC News, writing in a statement: “There’s no way to contain sorrow and despair.” It also requested the public to “refrain from spreading false facts based on speculation and malicious reports so that the deceased’s final journey will not be unfair.”

Lee was facing an investigation over alleged drug use at the home of a hostess who worked in a high-end bar, according to Yonhap. His last interaction with police was on Saturday. Lee reportedly told police that he was convinced by the hostess and that he was unaware of what he was taking. He tested negative for drugs twice.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, South Korea has cracked down on drug use in the country, with a number of stars, including K-pop singer G-Dragon, also facing accusations.

In addition to his role as patriarch of a wealthy family in Parasite, for which he and his other cast members earned a Screen Actors Guild Award, Lee starred in last year’s sci-fi film Dr. Brain.

Lee’s past television credits include a doctor in the 2007 medical drama Behind the White Tower, an elite chef in the 2010 romantic comedy series Pasta, and—his final role—a private equity fund owner in Payback.

Born in Seoul, Lee studied drama at the Korea National University of Arts and made his acting debut in 2001 as Brad Majors in the musical The Rocky Horror Show.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741

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