Former South Korean President dead after apparent suicide

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun died after falling from the side of a mountain near his house in an apparent suicide, the state-run Yonhap News Agency reported early Saturday.

Roh Moo-Hyun, 2004

Roh, who was facing an investigation into allegations of bribery, fell at about 6:30 a.m. Korea Standard Time (9:00 p.m. GMT), after having gone hiking with an aide. Roh was taken to the Pusan National University Hospital, where he died at 9:30 a.m.

"Roh left his home at 5:45 a.m. to go hiking," Moon Jae-in, an adviser to Roh, said. "He appears to have jumped from a mountain rock at 6:40 a.m. He was accompanied by a bodyguard at that time."

"He left behind a brief suicide note," Moon added.

The investigation stems from allegations that Roh received a US$6 million bribe while in office.

Pusan National University Hospital chief Paek Seung-wan told reporters that Roh died of a head injury.

"At the time of his arrival at the hospital at 8:23 a.m.," Paek said, "he was unconscious and couldn't breathe on his own. A laceration measuring 11 centimeters was found on the front part of his head. Doctors attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation but suspended it at 8:30 a.m. as he failed to recover. A brain contusion was also found, but head injury was confirmed as the direct cause of his death. In addition, fractures were found, including in the ribs and pelvis."