SEOUL: Grieving South Korean film fans packed a Seoul hospital Wednesday to pay their respects after the death of an actor dubbed “Korea’s Hugh Grant”.
Kim Joo-Hyuk, 45, died Monday from head injuries after his Mercedes crashed into an apartment wall and flipped over. No other vehicles were involved, police said.
Kim, whose father was also a famous actor, made his debut in 1999 and quickly gained popularity for his roles in several romantic comedies, earning himself the nickname.
More recently he moved into grittier parts. He was named Best Supporting Actor at the Seoul Film Awards last week for his role in the movie Confidential Assignment, in which he played the leader of an organised crime gang from North Korea.
“It is my first time to win a movie award,” Kim said at the ceremony. “It is as if my parents, who are in heaven, are giving me this award.”
Several top celebrities went to pay their respects at a remembrance altar set up in the Seoul hospital where his body was taken.
Large arrangements of white flowers – the colour of mourning in Korea – lined the corridors, which were crowded with media and sobbing fans.
Kim’s death was one of the most searched words on South Korea’s Naver portal on Wednesday.
“He was one of those actors that made me smile. I still can’t believe it,” said one user.
“I thought he would become a veteran actor like his father, it’s very sad. May he rest in peace,” wrote another.
Kim was the 20th most searched terms on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, as overseas fans also grieved his passing.
“Kim Joo-Hyuk was one of the very few South Korean actors I liked, my god,” posted a Chinese commentator.