K-Drama star reportedly commits suicide
Park Yong-ha (pictured), 33, apparently hanged himself in his home in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported, citing police.
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, Korean time.
Park enjoyed visiting Hawaii, according to KBFD TV general manager Jeff Chung, who met the versatile performer during his visits here before doing two concerts, one in 2006 at the Waikiki Shell and another just last year at the Hawaii Convention Center.
“I met him several times, and I thought he was a nice guy,” Chung said. “He liked golf and we had a mutual affection for motorcycles. He was a pretty down-to-earth guy, personable, and news of his death seems completely unlike his character.”
Park’s popularity began with the 2002 series “Winter Sonata.”
“We aired it here before it was shown in Japan,” said Chung, “and it was there that the drama ignited the country’s interest in K-drama.”
Interest was such that the two times Park performed here, he brought over large contingents of fans from Japan with him as well.
“He was one of the very few TV actors that was an accomplished singer in Korean and Japanese,” Chung said. “Park was also one of the very few K-drama stars that had success overseas.”
Star-Advertiser staff writer Gary Chun contributed to this report.