Park Yong-ha, a Korean actor and singer whose co-starring role in “Winter Sonata” catapulted him to Asia-wide fame, was found dead at his home in Seoul on Wednesday in what appeared to be a suicide.
“The body of Park, 33, was found in his room in Nonhyun-dong, southern Seoul, by his mother at around 5:30 a.m., his brother-in-law, Kim Jae-hyeong, said. He hanged himself, leaving no suicide note,” reports Korean wire service Yonhap News Agency.
“No suicide note was found. Let’s pray for him to rest in peace,” Kim told reporters in a Seoul hospital where Park was pronounced dead.
According to his family, Park came home late Tuesday night and said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” while giving his father, who is terminally ill with stomach cancer, a massage. He was last seen going to his room after midnight, his mother was quoted by police as saying.
His family and acquaintances said Park had been deeply agonized about his sick father and suffered financial problems as the entertainment agency he established in February had performed poorly. He was taking sleeping pills, they said.
Since his debut in the television drama “Theme Park” in 1997, Park was loved for his schoolboy image until “Winter Sonata” provided a turning point for his acting career in 2002.
It was filmed on the resort island of Namiseom and the series was aired by numerous Asian television stations including Malaysia’s RTM and Japan’s NHK.
The popular melodrama series, also starring Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo, opened doors for Park to lead roles, including one in “Loving You” in 2002.