By Kim Rahn
A transgender, who became famous for appearing in a show before and after undergoing sex change surgery, committed suicide Saturday, a day after actress Choi Jin-sil's death.
Police concluded that the direct cause of the suicide was the breakup with her boyfriend, but suspect Choi's death had affected her decision to kill herself.
Jang Chae-won, 26, hung herself in the bathroom of her home in Seoul around 11 p.m. Friday. A friend found her dead when visiting the house after Jang's boyfriend said Jang did not answer the phone, according to police.
Police suspect she killed herself, based on testimonies from her friends, that she was distressed after breaking up with her boyfriend on the day of her death.
According to the friend who found her, Jang, after hearing the news of Choi's death, said that she could understand Choi. Jang also left a note on her blog around 8 p.m. on the day of her suicide, in which she said: ``I'm sorry, mom. I'll be better next time.''
Jang is the latest celebrity to die in a recent series of suicides.
Experts say that Korea is experiencing the so-called Werther Effect, where copycat suicides take place. After actor Ahn Jae-hwan killed himself on Sept. 8, health authorities' counseling center received 439 phone calls from those considering suicide in September, compared to only 220 calls in August.
Since Ahn's death, at least three people have killed themselves using toxic fumes from briquettes ― the same method as Ahn. Since Choi's death, five people have hung themselves like Choi.
Jang, whose male name was Jeong-hwan, became the talk of the town in May last year when he appeared on a quiz-like show ``Game for Truth'' as a woman after undergoing a sex change operation, because she had appeared on the very same show three years before as a man.
She has not appeared on other shows since, but has gained public attention, being called the ``second Harisu,'' a famous transgender entertainer who also changed sex from male to female.