Actor hangs himself from bedpost

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Actor hangs himself from bedpost

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Park Yong-ha

Actor and singer Park Yong-ha, 33, was found dead in his apartment in Nonhyeon, Seoul, at 5:30 a.m. yesterday by his mother, Euh, 56, presumably from suicide.

According to a statement by Gangnam police yesterday, Park killed himself “on an impulse,” hanging himself from a bedpost in his bedroom with the cord of a camcorder charger around 4:00 a.m. There was no suicide note found at the scene or on his computer.

Park’s father, Park Seung-in, has been battling terminal stomach cancer since being diagnosed late last year, which close friends said made Park “very troubled.”

Park Seung-in, 62, told police that his son came to his room the previous night with “tears in his eyes, saying ‘I should be the one who’s sick, not you. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’”

Earlier, Park had met with a close business associate surnamed An for a drink around 9 p.m., but was not “overly intoxicated” when he returned home at 10 minutes past midnight.

“After examining Park’s financial and business records, Park had no outstanding reasons to commit suicide,” Gangnam police spokesman Kwak Jeong-ki said. “There was nothing to rule that he was suffering from depression. We feel that Park killed himself due to overall stress from his career, business and family situation.”

After his debut in 1994, Park rose to fame in 2002 playing Kim Sang-hyeok in the Korean serial drama “Winter Sonata.” He was instantly popular in Japan, where he made his debut as a singer in 2004.

In February, Park and his father established a talent management company, YONA Entertainment, which became a source of stress for the young actor. One of its workers mismanaged funds, an entertainment industry source said. Park was also paying his father’s medical bills and household expenses, because his parents are unemployed. According to the source, his father had fallen into debt, which Park was struggling to pay off.

The actor said on his Twitter account back in April: “I’ve been using sleep medication for 14 years now, and it hasn’t been good.”

Throngs of teary celebrities, family and friends paid their respects to Park at the St. Mary’s Hospital funeral hall in Gangnam, where his sister, brother-in-law and cousin received condolences. Park’s mother was hospitalized after losing consciousness from the shock of her son’s death.

“[Park’s body] arrived at 7:20 this morning and there have been crowds of people here all day,” said a worker at the hall who asked for anonymity. “His funeral service is to be held on Friday at 8 a.m.”

Park was recently cast with actress Yoon Eun-hye in an upcoming melodrama series and had been scheduled to fly to Japan in August for another concert tour.


By Christine Kim, Song Ji-hye [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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박용하 자살에 열도 팬 ‘패닉


탤런트 겸 가수 박용하(33)씨의 갑작스러운 사망이 한국보다 일본에서 더 큰 슬픔을 자아내고 있다. 최근까지 일본에서 배우와 가수로 활발히 활동해 온 한류스타인 그가 돌연 숨을 거뒀다는 소식은 30일 일본 열도를 뒤흔들었다. 박씨의 일본 공식 사이트인 ‘서머페이스 재팬(www.summerface.jp)’은 이날 일본 팬들이 앞다퉈 접속하면서 온종일 불통 상태에 빠졌다. 팬클럽 회원들은 한국에 빈소가 마련되는 대로 서울을 방문하는 등 후속 대책을 마련할 계획이다.

월드컵 축구대표팀의 파라과이전 패배로 분위기가 가라앉은 아침을 맞은 일본의 박씨의 팬들은 오전 9시쯤 전화와 블로그·트위터 등을 통해 그의 사망 소식을 전해 듣고 패닉 상태에 빠졌다. 2만 명에 이르는 고정 팬들 사이에서는 벌써 추모 열기가 달아오르고 있다. 한 팬은 이날 오전 블로그에 남긴 ‘용하 사랑해요’라는 제목의 글에서 “아무도 용하를 진정으로 챙겨 주는 사람이 없었던가. 도대체 무슨 일이 있었나. 하늘나라에 가서도 별처럼 반짝반짝 빛나길 바란다. 명복을 빈다”며 슬픔을 토로했다.

아이치(愛知)현의 한 여성 팬은 “일본 각지에서 열린 박용하의 공연은 언제나 나에게 행복한 순간들이었다”며 그의 슬픔을 애도했다. 히로시마(廣島)의 50대 여성 팬은 “공연 때 운 좋게 맨 앞줄 자리에 앉기라도 하면 친구들에게 자랑하면서 행복했는데, 도대체 그에게 무슨 일이 있었나”며 슬픔을 감추지 못했다.
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