A farmer who was hit by a police water cannon during a protest last fall died Sunday.
Baek Nam-gi, 69, had been in coma since the water cannon knocked him down during the demonstration on Nov. 14 last year.
Seoul National University Hospital pronounced Baek dead of acute renal failure at 2:15 p.m. Baek's family members and civic activists were by his side.
Critics have argued Baek was fatally injured because of police's excessive crackdown on the protest.
Supporters of the late farmer held a press conference outside the hospital earlier Sunday to voice their opposition to authorities' plan for an autopsy.
Baek is said to have taken part in the protest to call on the government to carry out its pledge to increase the price of rice.
His passing is expected to further fuel debate between the protesters and police on the latter's response to demonstrations.
Baek's supporters have filed a suit for damages against the government and former police chief Kang Sin-myeong, saying firing the water cannon while recognizing its danger constituted an attempted negligent homicide.
Police, on the other hand, have argued there is no clear link between the water cannon and Baek's injury.
Kang, whose term ended in August, refused to apologize for the incident during a parliamentary hearing on Sept. 12. Kang said it was "inappropriate" to issue an apology for every injury or death during crackdowns of demonstrations, and causes and legal responsibilities must be clearly defined beforehand. (Yonhap)