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[Newsmaker] Autopsy finds fatal head injury caused Kim Joo-hyuk’s death

An autopsy on actor Kim Joo-hyuk who passed away after a car crash Monday in Seoul, revealed that the actor died from a fatal head injury.

Police and the National Forensic Service said Tuesday that the immediate cause of Kim‘s death was a head injury, serious enough to have instantly killed the actor. They added that there was no evidence of myocardial infarction, which was previously reported as a possible cause that led to the car accident. A more detailed autopsy result will become available after about a week, police said. 


On Tuesday morning, Gangnam Police station said that it had asked the NFS to conduct an autopsy on Kim in order to verify the exact cause of his death. Kim‘s body was sent to NFS Tuesday morning at around 9 a.m.

Kim, 45, was driving a Mercedes-Benz SUV down Yeongdong Daero when it crashed into Hyundai Grandeur near an I-Park apartment complex in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, on Monday at around 4:30 p.m. Kim’s car then crashed into the wall of an apartment block and flipped down the stairs. Firefighters extricated Kim from the vehicle at around 5:07 p.m. and took him to Konkuk University Medical Center. Kim died at the hospital at around 6:30 p.m. It has been reported that officials from the hospital named myocardial infarction as a major cause of the accident. 


While the police still haven’t found electronic recording devices from either Kim’s car or the Grandeur, it said Tuesday that there have been a number of misunderstandings concerning the accident. Previously, the driver of the Grandeur had told police that Kim seemed to be in pain, clutching his chest, after the SUV crashed into his car from the rear, adding that the car then swerved into the apartment wall. But after analyzing a footage of the accident recorded by a vehicle behind Kim’s car, secured by police Monday, police said that Kim’s car didn’t ram from the rear but crashed to the right side of the car. 

The Grandeur driver later admitted the error of his earlier statement saying that he was confused at the time of the accident. The Grandeur driver also corrected his statement about Kim clutching his chest in pain, saying that Kim was actually grabbing the steering wheel with his two hands while leaning his chest on it with a pain-stricken face.

Kim’s agency Namoo Actors said Tuesday that Kim’s wake will be held at Asan Medical Center in Songpa-gu, Seoul, from 3 p.m. Tuesday while the funeral will take place on Thursday. Kim will be buried at a family vault in Seosan city in South Chungcheong Province.

Kim straddled both the small and big screens as an actor, becoming best known for leading roles in the TV series “Lovers in Prague” (2005) and in films such as “My Wife Got Married” (2008) and “Yourself and Yours” (2016). The actor was at the height of his career, having won his first film award last Friday for his portrayal of a ruthless North Korean mobster in Kim Sung-hoon’s “Confidential Assignment” (2017).

He had three upcoming movies slated for release next year. Kim had finished shooting his part for the film “Dok-jeon,” Lee Hae-young’s crime action drama that is still in production, reports say. Kim played a China-based drug lord in the film.

Kim also starred in Cho Geun-hyun’s “Heung-bu,” which wrapped up shooting on Aug. 18.

Kim had also agreed to star alongside Hyun Bin once more in Kim Sung-hoon’s period-slash-zombie flick “Rampant (Chang-gweol).” Kim had finished one out of his four shoots for the film. Kim had also been in talks to star in Yoo Jae-wook’s crime thriller “Yeol-dae-ya.”

By Hong Dam-young (