BUSAN — South Korea was in deep shock Thursday after the apparent suicide of much-loved TV and film actress Choi Jin-sil .
The 40-year old was found hanged in her shower early morning by members of her family.
Local press was quick to make connections between her death and other recent celebrity suicides.
Kim Dong-ho, the president of Pusan International Film Festival officially expressed his regret over the sudden death of Choi at the opening ceremony of the 13th event.
“I feel extremely sorry to mention this sad thing here. Choi Jin-sil, the lovely actress who had been adored by the nation passed away suddenly. The people from film world here at PIFF express sorrows together and pray for the deceased,” president Kim said on the stage, just before the screening of the opening film, “The Gift of Stalin.”
The whole nation was shocked at the suicide of Choi, who was an iconic figure of the 1990s. She held the status of “Korea’s Sweetheart” since her debut in a TV commercial in 1989.
Choi Jin-sil also performed in a variety of notable Korean films.
Since her debut in helmer Jung Ji-young’s Korean war epic “North Korean Partisan in South Korea”(1990), Choi climbed to stardom with helmer Lee Myung-se’s “My Love, My Bride” (1990).
Choi left a total of 18 films, including boxoffice hits “Mister Mama”(1992), “How to Top My Wife”(1994), “Ghost Mamma”(1996) and “The Letter”(1997).
Her last feature role was in “The Legend of Gingko”(2000), produced by Kang Je-kyu.