The announcement comes after an exhaustive search for the missing actor. His family had called authorities and requested their assistance after they allegedly found a message which sounded like a suicide note, according to Deadline.
South Korea’s emergency office confirmed the news of the actor’s death to the Associated Press on Wednesday. His body was discovered in a parked car in Seoul.
The 48-year-old star had previously been arrested and was under investigation for drug use allegations, per Deadline, as the South Korean government had begun targeting illegal drug crimes more stringently. A local news outlet in Korea noted how Lee had been questioned by authorities as recently as last week regarding his drug usage. He told authorities he was tricked into using the illegal substances.
The outlet noted that Lee had reportedly dropped out of a new film project, “No Way Out,” shortly after it started production.
Lee is known to American audiences for starring as the family patriarch in “Parasite.” Besides the black comedy thriller becoming the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, he and his co-stars also won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in 2020.
The movie follows a poor family who schemes to become employed by a wealthy family and infiltrates their household by pretending to be professionals in various fields. Lee played Park Dong-ik, a wealthy architect and homeowner who was the victim of the scam.
Besides “Parasite,” Lee also starred in Apple TV+’s 2021 Korean thriller drama “Dr. Brain.” The role was also highly regarded and earned the actor an International Emmy Award nomination for his performance.
Lee is survived by his wife, two sons and siblings, per The New York Times. His talent agency, Hodu&U Entertainment, said in a statement that a funeral would be held privately and open to friends and family only.
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