“Today (Friday) at 1:45 p.m. Chris Gelken quietly passed away,” read a message on his Facebook account posted from Limoges, France. “The last few months were very difficult, but he fought every step of the way.”
Gelken had been battling adenocarcinoma after a stage-four diagnosis last August, according to his friends.
He is survived by wife Shirley Han Ying.
A veteran journalist whose works spanned widely from TV, radio, print and Internet media, Gelken took up stints in various parts of the world, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tehran.
For the last few years, he committed himself to media service group Ridealist, which he set up with his wife in 2009. Ridealist produces free-of-charge short videos for grassroots nonprofit groups, community groups and individuals who otherwise would not have ready access to professional media services.
The award-winning journalist was with The Korea Herald for two years from 2005-2007, during which he launched new sections at the paper, including the Expat Page. He also wrote columns for OhmyNews’ English website from 2007-2009.
Yu Kun-ha, chief editorial writer of the Herald, recalled him as a “passionate and aggressive journalist.”
“Chris Gelken was a born journalist,” said Yu who, then as managing editor, shared the office with Gelken. “His stint at the Herald was not long, but he made significant contributions to the improvement of The Korea Herald.”
Gelken’s investigative stories on English hagwon, exposing racism, discrimination and questionable business practices, were read widely by foreigners in Korea, Yu said.
By Lee Sun-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)