Saturday, May 23, 2009

Suicide of former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun

Former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun, 62, committed suicide Saturday by leaping to his death from a hill behind his house, the South Korean government announced.

Roh, who was president from 2003 to 2008, had gone hiking near his home with an aide around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. He was found later with head injuries and died in hospital.

He had left a suicide note for his family that he wrote on his computer about half an hour before he left the house. "I am in debt to too many people," the note reads. "Too many people have suffered because of me. And I cannot imagine the suffering they will go through in the future."

Roh's death came amid an investigation into a bribery scandal that had tarnished his reputation.

Roh also hoped to leave a legacy of improved relations with North Korea. Just before he left the presidency, Roh became the first South Korean leader to cross the demilitarized zone and meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong il. Roh believed in the "sunshine policy" of his predecessor, Kim Dae-Jung, that sought to engage the north and Roh also promised aid.

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