Page last updated at 11:08 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 12:08 UK

South Korean star Choi found dead

Choi Jin-sil
Choi Jin-sil was nicknamed "the nation's actress"

South Korean actress Choi Jin-sil has been found dead at her Seoul home in an apparent suicide, police have said.

The 40-year-old, known as 'the nation's actress', is believed to have hanged herself after locking herself in the bathroom on Wednesday night.

No formal suicide note was found, but the actress sent two text messages to her make-up assistant asking to look after her two children.

Choi was one of South Korea's most popular actresses.

"It's obviously suicide," Yang Jae-ho, chief investigator at Seoul's Seocho police station told reporters, citing a doctor's examination of Choi's body and evidence from family members and friends.

He said an investigation was under way.

Her death comes a month after the suicide of a fellow actor, Ahn Jae-hwan, who was rumoured to have owed her a large amount of money.

Choi denied the claims and asked police to investigate who had been circulating the stories.

The actress's mother told police that she returned home drunk on Wednesday, crying and denying the rumours, before going into the bathroom, Mr Yang said.

The investigator also said a friend of Choi's told police the actress had worried about raising her children after her divorce from baseball star Cho Sung-min in 2004, and often said she wanted to die.

The actress had reportedly taken medication for depression since then.

Choi made her debut in the late 1980s and went on to star in a number of box-office hits, including the 1990 film My Love, My Bride and 1994's How to Top My Wife.

Choi had been preparing for a second series of TV drama The Last Scandal of My Life, in which she played a woman who found love with a top actor after a painful divorce.

A moment of silence was observed in the actress's honour at the opening ceremony of Pusan International Film Festival on Thursday.




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