Police confirmed yesterday that a former baseball star and ex-husband of a top South Korean actress, whose 2008 suicide shocked the country, took his own life over the weekend.
Cho Sung-min, a former pitcher for Japanese baseball team Yomiuri Giants, was found dead early Sunday, with a belt around his neck, by his girlfriend in the bathroom of her Seoul apartment.
"The autopsy result showed death due to hanging," Yonhap news agency quoted a senior police officer as saying. "We've concluded the case as suicide."
In a final text to his girlfriend, Cho had written: "Thank you for everything. Hang tough even after I am gone."
The 39-year-old was the former husband of the hugely popular actress Choi Jin-sil, who took her own life in similar fashion in 2008, four years after their marriage ended in an acrimonious divorce and her allegations of domestic violence by Cho.
Choi, who had two children with Cho, was found hanging from a length of elastic at her Seoul home.
Relatives and friends said she had been depressed since her divorce and troubled by rumours circulating on the Internet that she had caused another actor's suicide by demanding repayment of debts he owed her.
The death of Choi, whose fame earned her the nickname "The Nation's Actress", shocked the country and prompted the police to launch a crackdown on cyber-bullying.
Cho was a hate figure for some of Choi's fans, who blamed him for her suicide. In 2010 Choi's younger brother, singer Choi Jin-Young, also hanged himself while suffering from severe depression.
Suicide is the most common cause of death among people aged in their 20s and 30s in South Korea. The country has the highest suicide rate among the member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.