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Korean football hero loses mother, grandmother on same day

2018/01/13 11:10

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SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean football icon Park Ji-sung is heartbroken as his mother and grandmother died on the same day, football officials said Saturday.

Park's mother, Jang Myung-ja, died on Friday while undergoing treatment at a London hospital for her injuries caused by a car accident in the British capital late last year, according to the officials.

Later the same day, Park's grandmother, Kim Mae-shim, died at a long-term care hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul, they said. Kim was 82.

A file photo of Park Ji-sung (Yonhap) A file photo of Park Ji-sung (Yonhap)

The 36-year-old Park, who has served as director of the youth department of the Korea Football Association and executive director of the JS Foundation after his retirement in 2014, is in deep sorrow over the loss of his two most beloved supporters, they said.

The former Manchester United midfielder was one of the core members of the 2002 World Cup South Korean team that made it to the semifinals. In his career, he scored 13 goals in 100 matches for South Korea.

Jang was known to have devoted her entire life to taking care of her only son's football career. She reportedly worked hard at a meat shop to pay for Park's training expenses during his school days.

In his retirement news conference in 2014, Park said, "My father wished I remain active longer in football, but my mother didn't oppose my retirement due to fears of injury. I feel both sorry and grateful. For the rest of my life, I'll repay my debt to my parents."

   Park's grandmother was also his ardent fan and supporter. Kim reportedly resorted to nutritional injections to give her the strength to cheer for her grandson during South Korea's World Cup match against Switzerland in Germany on the early morning of June 24, 2006.

Meanwhile, Manchester United expressed condolences over the death of Park's mother on its Korean-language social media page.

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