Cho Sung-min, the ex-husband of late actress Choi Jin-sil and a former star baseball player, was found dead early Sunday morning in an apparent suicide, police said.
The body of Cho, 39, was discovered by his girlfriend, hanged in the bathroom of her apartment in Dogok-dong, southern Seoul, at around 5:26 a.m. according to Suseo Police Station, which is investigating the case.
“We have found no signs yet of a break-in or any injuries to suspect his death to be a homicide,” the police said a press briefing. “We plan to ask for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of his death.”
According to the investigators, Cho drank with his girlfriend the night before his death, where he was informed of the end of their relationship.
The girlfriend, whose name was withdrawn by police, then left the house and returned about three and a half hours later only to find Cho hanging from the bathroom shower using his belt.
Cho sent messages to his mother and girlfriend via mobile phone, hinting at suicide, police said.
“Take it as if you never had a son,” reads the message sent to his mother. No will was found at the scene.
Cho had a turbulent career and personal life.
With attractive looks and top-class pitching skills, he had many female fans in Korea and Japan. His best years as a pro-baseball player were 1997-1998 with Japan’s Yomiuri Giants.
But after peaking his career soon went downhill, with injuries and a prolonged slump. In 2005, he stood on the pitcher’s mound again, playing for Korea’s Hanwha Eagles, but instead of making an impressive comeback, he had to leave the team in 2007 with a disappointing performance.
He briefly worked as a TV commentator. Most recently, he worked as a coach for the Doosan Bears in 2011, but did not renew his contract last November.
His marriage with Choi in 2000 and its ugly ending in 2004, involving violence and adultery, grabbed headlines in Korea. The couple had two children ― one daughter and one son.
Choi committed suicide by hanging in October 2008. A year and a half later, her younger brother, singer Jin-young, also killed himself.
By Lee Sun-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)