Kim Jung Gi, acclaimed comic book artist, dies of ‘sudden’ heart attack aged 47

The South Korean artist holds the Guinness World Record for 'longest drawing by an individual'

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Kim Jung Gi, a world-renowned comic book artist from South Korea, died suddenly after suffering a heart attack this week in Paris aged 47.

He was best known for recreating complex scenes from memory and holds the Guinness World Record for “longest drawing by an individual”.

The artist was in the French capital for an exhibition of his work and was meant to fly to New York, for Comic Con, but he started experiencing chest pains.

He was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery, where he died.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you of the sudden passing of Kim Jung Gi,” read a statement, from Monday, shared on his verified social media accounts on Wednesday.

“After having done so much for us, you can now put down your brushes. Thank you Jung Gi,” said collaborator Hyun Jin Kim in the same caption.

Born in 1975 in South Korea, Kim adopted a childhood interest in the arts and was enrolled at a fine arts school when he was only one. He went on to attend Dong-Eui University in Busan for three years.

The artist started his career drawing in South Korean comics publication Young Jump before creating his own manhwa, which is a style of South Korean comic.

He became known for his intricate works, created entirely from memory, and also lectured at universities about manhwa.

The Daniel Maghen Gallery, which is currently showing an exhibition of Kim’s work in Paris, wrote in a post on Instagram: “His sudden disappearance contrasts with the immense happiness he brought us. We are speechless ...

“All our thoughts are turned to his family, his wife and his two children, his friends, his collaborators Kim Hyun Jin, Boin Lee, Jean-Christophe Caurette … and his fans, for whom his disappearance will leave a great void.”

Jim Lee, publisher and chief creative officer of DC Comics, said Kim, who designed covers for DC, was “one of the absolute greats” in a series of tweets.

“@KimJungGiUS was a truly phenomenal talent whose pen and brush wizardry captivated and inspired millions of fans around the world,” Lee tweeted.

“While he drew some incredible comics, it was his live drawing & his sketchbooks about his life, travels and dreams which spoke to me most.”

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Updated: October 06, 2022, 4:28 AM