Cha In-ha: Korean actor dies aged 27

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Cha In HaImage source, Instagram
Image caption,
Cha In-ha was appearing in the TV series Love With Flaws

South Korean actor Cha In-ha has been found dead at his home in Seoul, the latest celebrity loss of life to rock the country's entertainment industry.

The 27-year-old star's agency released a statement saying it was "filled with grief", and urged people not to speculate on the cause of death.

Cha had most recently been appearing in the TV series Love With Flaws.

He is the third young Korean star to die in the space of two months.

Cha was a member of an acting group set up by entertainment agency Fantagio called Surprise U. He made his debut in a 2017 film called You, Deep Inside of Me.

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The death is the latest in a string of celebrity tragedies in South Korea, which also has one of the world's highest suicide rates.

In October and November respectively, K-pop stars Sulli and Goo Hara were found dead in their homes. Both deaths were treated as suspected suicides.

Their deaths have sparked debates about the pressure felt by K-pop stars - including bullying and harassment from fans.

In Goo Hara's case, it also highlighted the issue of so-called "spy-cam porn" and its victims.

In September 2018, Goo had filed a lawsuit against an ex-boyfriend after he threatened to damage her career by releasing an illicit video of her. In August, Goo's former partner was given a suspended jail sentence for physically assaulting and blackmailing her.

'Deep mourning'

In a statement, Fantagio paid tribute to Cha.

"We are truly heartbroken to deliver sad news to everyone who has sent lots of love and support to Cha In Ha until now. We are filled with grief at this news that is still hard to believe," it said.

"We earnestly ask for rumours to not be spread and for speculative reports to not be released in order for his family, who is experiencing greater sadness more than anyone due to the sudden sad news, to send him away peacefully.

"As wished by his family, the funeral will be held privately. We express deep mourning for his passing."

If you or someone you know are feeling emotionally distressed, BBC Action Line has more information.

In the UK you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information 0800 066 066. In addition, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 (UK and Ireland). Mind also has a confidential telephone helpline- 0300 123 339 (Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm).

How to get help within Korea: the Korea Suicide Prevention Center can be reached at 1393, LifeLine Korea at 1588-9191, and Help Call for Youth at 1388. Lines are available 24/7 for free and confidential support for people in suicidal crisis or distress.