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Autopsy reveals actor Kim Joo-hyuk died of head injury

Nov 01,2017
Kim Joo-hyuk, the actor best known for his roles in the 2003 romantic comedy “Singles” and the 2017 action film “Confidential Assignment,” died on Monday of a critical injury to the head after a car accident in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, the National Forensic Service said Tuesday.

It may take around a week to receive autopsy results on his heart and to determine whether he was under the influence of drugs, authorities said. Police searched Kim’s car and the site of the accident, and have not found a black box as of press time Tuesday, but black-box footage of a car that was behind Kim’s during the accident has gone viral online, receiving more than 556,000 views on Facebook as of Tuesday.

In the footage, Kim’s car, a Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 SUV, is seen coming to a halt on a six-lane road in Gangnam District. A Hyundai Grandeur then changes lanes from the left side to move in front of Kim’s car, when Kim suddenly speeds up, glancing off the Grandeur and taking off down the road, eventually veering toward the pedestrian entrance of an apartment complex.

According to police, Kim’s car crashed into a wall near the entrance and toppled down the stairs at around 4:30 p.m. Kim was found inside the car, which was lying on its right side at the bottom of the stairs. Police said he was unconscious and was transported to the hospital at around 5:07 p.m. CPR did not revive him and he died at around 6:30 p.m., authorities said.

Some have conjectured that Kim may have suffered from a heart attack, based on the testimony from the driver of the Hyundai Grandeur.

“[Right after his car hit mine,] I saw that Kim had his chest close to the steering wheel,” the driver told police, “and he was clutching the wheel with both hands and his face looked like he was in pain.”

“Some questioned if the car was malfunctioning and if there was a sudden and unintended acceleration, but in the black box footage it shows that Kim did not hit the brakes when the car was speeding up - the usual response from drivers when a car accelerates suddenly on its own,” said a police officer. “We are still searching for the black box of Kim’s car. We may have to take the car apart to find it stuck somewhere.”

The 45-year-old actor who made his entertainment debut in 1998 was recently honored at The Seoul Awards on Friday for his supporting role in “Confidential Assignment,” released in January. Some of his well-received works include the movies “My Wife Got Married” (2008) and “Singles” (2003), as well as the TV series “Lovers in Prague” (2005) and “Rival” (2002).

He had told media outlets he intended to marry his girlfriend, actress Lee Yoo-young.

BY LEE HYUN, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]