Go to contents

Ex-Pres. Roh MH Dies in Apparent Suicide

Posted May. 24, 2009 08:24,   


Former President Roh Moo-hyun, 63, fell 30 meters to his death from Owl Rock of Mount Bongha near his retirement home in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, around 6:30 a.m. He was rushed into Pusan University Hospital but pronounced dead.

Moon Jae-in, former presidential chief of staff, told a news conference at 11 a.m., “Former President Roh Moo-hyun left his residence around 5:45 a.m. and while hiking a hill, he jumped off a cliff around 6:40 a.m. He was accompanied by a bodyguard.”

“Roh was taken to the hospital at around 8:13 a.m., but passed away at 9:30 a.m.”

Moon added, “Former President Roh left behind a brief will for his family.”

In his will, Roh said, “It`s been too hard for me. I’ve caused too much suffering to too many people. I couldn’t read and write. Don’t blame anyone. Life and death is a piece of life. Please cremate me. Put up a small tombstone near home.”

Roh is said to have asked for a cigarette from his bodyguard before falling from the cliff. When the bodyguard said he would get him one, Roh reportedly said, “That’s okay. You don’t need to.”

Shortly after, Roh distracted the bodyguard’s attention by pointing to people walking below. While the bodyguard was looking below, Roh jumped.

Roh was rushed to a hospital and transferred to Pusan University Hospital in Yangsan around 8:13 a.m. Despite CPR, he failed to recover consciousness and passed away at 9:30 a.m.

Hospital head Baek Seung-wan said, “At the time of his arrival to the hospital, he wasn’t conscious and had no vital signs. We also noticed an 11-centimeter lacerated wound on his frontal head,” adding, “The former president died of head injuries and a brain contusion.”

Roh, who had lived in his retirement home in his hometown of Bongha Village after leaving office Feb. 24 last year, was questioned by prosecutors April 30 on alleged bribery from former Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha.

Prosecutors were to announce a final decision on Roh’s arrest next week.

Justice Minister Kim Kyung-han said after an emergency meeting, “We cannot hold back our shock and sadness from former President Roh’s sudden death,” adding, “It is my understanding that the investigation into the former president will end.”

President Lee Myung-bak said in an emergency meeting of his senior aides, “It’s really hard to believe. It’s a truly lamentable and sad event.”

The president ordered his aides to arrange a funeral befitting the status of a former president, according to presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan.