Lee Sun-kyun Dies by Suicide: 'Parasite' Actor Found Dead in His Car in Seoul after Leaving Suicide Note at Home Amid Drug Use Investigation

Lee was found unconscious beside charcoal briquettes inside a car at a park in Seoul on Wednesday morning.

  • Updated

South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun, best known for his role in the Oscar-winning movie Parasite, has reportedly been found dead, according to local media reports. The Yonhap news agency reported the actor's death on Wednesday, citing police. The 48-year-old actor is reportedly found unconscious in a car at a park in central Seoul on Wednesday.

Lee was being probed for alleged illegal drug use as part of an ongoing government crackdown on illicit substances. The circumstances surrounding Lee's death remain uncertain, with reports indicating that he may have taken his own life. According to Yonhap news agency, police received a report that he had left home after leaving a note.

Shocking Death of an Actor

Lee Sun-kyun
Lee Sun-kyun X

Lee was found unconscious beside charcoal briquettes inside a car at a park in Seoul on Wednesday morning. His wife had reported to the police that she found what she believed to be a suicide note after he left home, as per the news agency. Nevertheless, the precise details surrounding his death remain unclear.

South Korea enforces stringent drug laws, with drug offenses usually carrying a minimum prison sentence of six months and up to 14 years for repeat offenders and dealers.

Lee Sun-kyun
Lee Sun-kyun in 'Parasite' X

Lee had been questioned by police three times, including a 19-hour session over the weekend.

According to Yonhap, the actor claimed that he was deceived into taking drugs by a bar hostess who subsequently tried to blackmail him.

He claimed that although he had consumed what the bar hostess had given him, he was unaware that the substances were illicit drugs. The hostess had supposedly told the police that he had used drugs at her home on multiple occasions, an accusation he refuted.

Lee Sun-kyun
Lee Sun-kyun X

He had previously expressed a desire, through his lawyer, to undergo a lie detector test.

The results of his drug tests reportedly returned negative or inconclusive. The investigation garnered significant attention, resulting in considerable damage to Lee's reputation.

He was dropped from "No Way Out," a mystery TV series that began shooting in October.

Lee, who was married to actress Jeon Hye-jin and had two sons, boasted an acting career spanning over two decades.

End of an Illustrious Career

Born in 1975, Lee played a prominent role as the father in Parasite alongside international screen icon Song Kang-ho. The movie became a global blockbuster. Parasite made history as the first Korean film to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and also became the first non-English film to win the Best Picture award at the Academy Awards.

Lee Sun-kyun
Lee Sun-kyun X

It also received three other Oscars, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.

Lee had notable roles in South Korean films, such as the 2012 thriller 'Helpless' and 2014's 'All About My Wife', among others.

Additionally, he took on the lead role in Apple TV+'s first Korean-language original series, which premiered in 2021.

In the six-episode sci-fi thriller "Dr. Brain," Lee portrayed Koh Se-won, a cold-hearted neurologist investigating a mysterious family accident through brain experiments.

Lee's career skyrocketed after his role in the popular Korean drama "Coffee Prince" in 2007, which also featured actors Gong Yoo, known for "Squid Game" and "Train To Busan," as well as Yoo Eun-hye and Kim Jae-wook.

Lee Sun-kyun
Lee Sun-kyun X

In the same year, he secured a role in the successful medical drama "Behind The White Tower."

In 2021, Lee appeared in the romantic comedy "Killing Romance," released in April.

In the film, directed by Lee Won-suk, the late actor portrayed the character of Jonathan Na.