February 24, 2005 00:05
Grief and a hyperactive rumor mill have greeted the suicide of film star Lee Eun-ju, who was found dead in her apartment Tuesday. The Daum portal site's most popular story on Wednesday afternoon was about Lee's funeral scheduled for Thursday.
Daum said users posted more than 250,000 replies to some 50 to 60 articles on Lee's suicide on Feb. 22 and 23. More users read news articles about Lee's suicide than about the abduction and killing of Kim Sun-il by Iraqi militants last year. The portal site temporarily crashed due to the sudden onslaught of traffic.
Five articles about Lee's suicide got the most hits on portal site Naver.com. Only an hour or two after they were posted, more than 4,000 replies were attached to the articles. The Chosun Ilbo's website was also inundated with more than 1,000 mourning messages for Lee.
Speculations over the cause of Lee's suicide reached fever pitch. Although Lee left relatively detailed suicide notes, it was difficult for people who knew nothing about her personal life to understand her suicide.
"It is nice having money… I wanted to make money," Lee wrote in a suicide note - sentences that baffled many, considering that Lee was a top advertising model earning hundreds of millions of won in fees.
"I want to return to the days one year ago," Lee said in another note. Immediately after her suicide, Lee was said to have agonized over nude scenes she took for the film "The Scarlet Letter," which were linked to her decision to take her life. But fans point out that Lee also did nude scenes for the film "Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors" after debuting in 1997.
One suicide note contains the enigmatic words, "The last call... Thank you. You told me that today is the right day." Speculation to whom the note was addressed naturally ran high. Kim Jong-shik of Lee's management agency Namoo Actors said the company would explain the cause of her suicide after the funeral.
Meanwhile, prosecutors and police closed their investigation into the suicide and ruled out foul play. The mortuary at Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang where Lee's body is being kept was crowded with fellow entertainers and reporters. Singers Bada and Jeon In-kwon, actors Park Jung-hun, Sol Kyung-gu, Lee Byung-hun and Cha Tae-hyun, and actress Kim Ji-su all came to pay their respects to Lee.
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