SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - South Korean entertainer Park Yong Ha, one of the most sought after actors in South Korea and a popular singer in Japan, was found dead in his home in Seoul on Wednesday in an apparent suicide, local media reported.
Park’s body was found by his mother with an electrical cord around his neck but there was no suicide note, The Korea Herald quoted police as reporting.
Park, 32, had recently devoted himself to nursing his ailing father who was in the final stages of stomach cancer. He was reported to have been struggling with sleep problems as well.
Park made his acting debut in 1992 but rose to fame in 2002 in the television drama “Winter Sonata”, winning a following in Japan and other nations in southeast Asia.
He also forged a career for himself as a singer in Japan where he put out 10 hit albums in the past five years and won four consecutive Japan Gold Disc Awards — a first for a Korean pop singer.
He was due to start filming in July for a Korean television drama called “Comrades, Almost a Love Story”, which is a remake of a popular 1996 Hong Kong film.
Park’s death comes after a string of suicides by South Korean celebrities in recent years.
Figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2009 show that South Korea’s suicide rate experienced a sharp increase from the late 1990s and South Korea now has the highest rate among OECD countries of around 22 deaths per 100,000 people.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy