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“Comedian Emperor” in Coma

Posted August. 04, 2002 23:19,   


Recently, the condition of Lee Ju-il (real name: Jeong Ju-il, 61, picture) is reported to have gotten worse. He has had enormous effect on Korean Society, because he waged anti-smocking campaign, while fighting against lung cancer.

According to the National Cancer Center in Ilsan-gu, Goyang-si, he fainted in the hospital, on Sunday, and was sent to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Now he is on life support.

The center said, “He could not breathe on his own, so he was put on life support, and he has been in a coma, since he was admitted to ICU. But it added that fortunately he got over a crisis.

Regarding the deterioration of his condition, some entertainers and his acquaintances pointed out that at the request of some broadcasting stations, he appeared on some TV entertainment programs and went to World Cup Stadiums, half of his own free will and half against his will.

While fighting against lung cancer, he appeared on 3-4 programs a month and watched the opening ceremony of the World Cup and soccer matches with Korean players playing at the SangAm World Cup Stadium, the Incheon Munhak Stadium and the Daejeon World Cup Stadium.

“He was often asked to be on TV as he was said to suffering from the disease, and after rejecting offers several times, he was forced to accept the offer,” said a close friend of his.

According to him, “It is too painful. I should stop appearing on TV,” Mr. Lee would say. “However, considering the ratings competition among broadcasting companies, and at the request of entertainers with whom I closely associated myself, on behalf of the television stations, I was forced to appear on TV programs.”

Because of one aspect of TV programs that 2-3 minutes program takes more than one hour to shoot, he is said to have suffered a lot in the shootings.

Gab-Sik Kim gskim@donga.com argus@donga.com