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Hawaii News

South Korean singer, actor found dead

A popular South Korean actor and singer who performed concerts in Hawaii was found dead yesterday in an apparent suicide, police and a news report said.

Park Yong-ha, 33, apparently hanged himself in his home in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported, citing police.

An official with Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency told the Associated Press that Park was found hanging by the cord of his mobile phone battery charger.

However, police were still trying to determine the exact cause of death, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Park debuted in the late 1990s and starred in the 2002 television drama "Winter Sonata," which brought a following in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Yonhap reported no suicide note was found but that Park told his family, "I’m sorry, I’m sorry" while massaging his father, who is terminally ill with stomach cancer, early today.

Park enjoyed visiting Hawaii, according to KBFD TV general manager Jeff Chung, who met the performer during his visits here for two concerts, one in 2006 at the Waikiki Shell and another last year at the Hawaii Convention Center.

"I met him several times, and I thought he was a nice guy," Chung said. "He liked golf, and we had a mutual affection for motorcycles. He was a pretty down-to-earth guy, personable, and news of his death seems completely unlike his character."

Park’s popularity began with the 2002 series "Winter Sonata."

"We aired it here before it was shown in Japan," he said, "and it was there that the drama ignited the country’s interest in K-drama."

Interest was such that the two times Park performed here, he brought over large contingents of fans from Japan with him as well.

"He was one of the very few TV actors that was an accomplished singer in Korean and Japanese. Park was also one of the very few K-drama stars that had success overseas."

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