Rising South Korean actor and singer Lee Ji-han was among 154 people killed in the horrific Halloween party stampede in Seoul on Saturday, his management has announced. He was only 24.
"It is heartbreaking to greet you with sad news. Actor Lee Ji-han, a precious family member of 935 Entertainment and 9Ato Entertainment, has become a star in the sky and has left us," the company said on social media on Monday.
"Actor Lee Ji-han was a friendly and warm friend to everyone. The infinitely bright and innocent actor Lee Ji-han, who always smiled brightly and greeted each other bravely, was so good in his eyes, and it is hard to believe that I will no longer be able to see him."
Lee, who first gained famed after appearing in the Korean singing competition Produce 101, was an up and coming star. He made his acting debut in the 2019 Korean drama Today Was Another Nam Hyun Day.
South Korean police have opened an investigation into what caused a crowd surge during Halloween festivities in Itaewon district that also left 149 people injured, many of them critically, the country's Interior and Safety Ministry said. A 561-member task force will look into the details of the crush and officials said the death count could rise as 33 of the 149 people injured in the crush are in serious condition.
More than 100,000 people are believed to have been at the popular nightlife district when the deadly crowd surge happened at a sloped, narrow alley. Witnesses and survivors recalled a “hell-like” chaos of people falling on each other “like dominoes”.
The entire Itaewon area was extremely jammed with slow-moving vehicles and partygoers in Halloween costumes, making it impossible for rescuers and ambulances to reach the site in time, AP reported.
On Sunday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a week-long period of national mourning and ordered flags at government buildings and public offices to fly at half-mast. Several entertainment shows have also suspended airing.