South Korea's iconic actress Choi Jin-sil was found dead at her home in what appears to be a suicide amid rumors that linked her to the recent death of another actor, Yonhap News reported quoting police Thursday.
Choi's mother found the actress, 40, with an elastic band around her neck tied to a shower stall in her home in southern Seoul at 6:15 a.m., officers at the Seocho Police Station said.
"We confirmed her death after receiving a call that Ms. Choi committed suicide," a police officer was quoted as saying.
No suicide note has been found.
Police have been investigating rumors that linked Choi to Ahn Jae-hwan, who was found dead inside his car in early September in an apparent suicide. Charred briquettes that would have released toxic gas and bottles of alcohol were found inside the rental minivan, investigators said.
Rumors have since circulated on the Web that Choi had lent a large sum of money to Ahn, who was reportedly in deepening debt due to a failing business. Ahn's financial troubles were seen as the chief factor leading up to his suicide.
Choi sought a police probe into the source of the rumors, calling them groundless. Police arrested a securities company employee this week for spreading the rumors that Choi lent 2.5 billion won ($2 million) to Ahn.
The previous day, the actress came to a studio to shoot a commercial, but the filming was canceled halfway through, with Choi saying she didn't feel well, according to Choi's co-star Sohn Hyun-joo from the drama series "What Husband And Wife Live By."
"From the moment she came onto the set, she looked very weary. Her face looked really bad and she found it difficult to continue and had to stop after two hours," he was quoted as saying.
Since her debut in 1988, Choi swiftly climbed the career ladder to become a household name, clinching main roles in soap operas, movies and commercials to win subsequent awards. Her girlish look and versatile talents brought her the nickname "People's Star."
She was preparing for the second season of her latest hit, MBC drama series "The Last Scandal of My Life," in which she played a 39-year-old woman who finds new love with a top actor after a painful divorce.
The actress tied the knot with pro baseball player Cho Sung-min in 2000 but their marriage ended in a divorce in 2004. Choi is survived by two children.