Jang Ja-yeon, a rising actress who had a role in the mega-hit KBS drama "Boys Before Flowers (also known as Boys Over Flowers)" was found dead in her home on Saturday in what appears to be a suicide case, police said yesterday.
Jang, 27, appeared to have hung herself, and was found by her sister, police said.
The news sent shockwaves to fans of the hit television series, where she was cast as one of three friends who are out to get heroine Geum Jan-di.
Jang, who debuted as a television commercial model in 2006, was also anticipating the release of movie "Penthouse Elephant," in which she played a supporting role.
Despite her budding career, Jang was suffering from depression and was receiving treatment, according to police. Police said there were no signs of foul play and were expected to rule her death as suicide.
Jang was living with her sister after losing both parents in a car accident 10 years ago.
Her funeral is being held at Seoul National University`s Bundang Hospital.
Jang`s death raised the alarm once again over the rampant number of suicides in the entertainment business lately.
Last year alone, actor Ahn Jae-hwan committed suicide in September, followed by top actress Choi Jin-sil in October and Lee Seo-hyun, a member of singing group M. Street, in December.
The phenomenon has brought to the spotlight the problem of the "Werther effect," or copycat suicides, as well as rampant and often irresponsible media coverage of suicides.
According to press reporting guidelines established by the Health Ministry, Korea Association for Suicide Prevention and Korea Journalist Association in 2004, media must protect the privacy of the dead and families, as well as refraining from offering too much detail on the case or reporting on rumored motives behind the suicide.
By Lee Joo-hee