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(2nd LD) Ex-husband of late actress Choi Jin-sil found dead in apparent suicide
SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- The former husband of late actress Choi Jin-sil was found dead at his girlfriend's home in Seoul Sunday in an apparent suicide, police said.

   The body of Cho Sung-min, 39, a former top baseball player who was married to Choi from 2000 to 2004, was found by his girlfriend in the bathroom of her apartment in the southern Seoul neighborhood of Dogok-dong, police said.

  
Cho Sung-min. (Photo courtesy of Doosan Bears) (Yonhap)


Cho was discovered hanging from a shower stand by a belt at around 3:40 a.m.

   Police said Cho and his unnamed 40-year-old girlfriend drank alcohol together at her apartment on Saturday night. The girlfriend told him she wanted to break up with him and left the apartment because she had other plans. When she returned to the apartment hours after receiving a disturbing text message from Cho, she discovered the body and called the police.

   Cho hinted at suicide in a text message he sent to his mother at around 12:11 a.m. and in the message he sent to his girlfriend five minutes later over the mobile messenger service Kakao Talk, police said.

   In the message to his mother, he wrote, "I have no way to live in Korea. I'm sorry, Mom, but consider yourself without a son."

   To his girlfriend, he left the words, "My heart breaks that we can't be together in the final moments of my life. Be strong."

   No suicide note has been found but an investigation is under way into what appeared to be a suicide, police said.

   Cho pitched for Japan's Yomiuri Giants from 1996 to 2002 and played for South Korea's Hanwha Eagles in 2005-2007. He later worked as a TV commentator and joined the pro South Korean baseball club Doosan Bears as a coach in 2011 but did not renew his contract last November.

   The late actress Choi killed herself in 2008 after struggling with depression for years.

   The couple is survived by one daughter and one son.

   Choi's younger brother Choi Jin-young, who worked as an actor and singer, also committed suicide in 2010 after long suffering depression from his sister death.

   hague@yna.co.kr
(END)
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