South Korean actress Im Soo-hyang has shared a letter paying tribute to her late co-star Lee Ji-han, who died in the recent Itaewon crowd crush tragedy.
On October 30, Lee’s labels 935 Entertainment and 9ato Entertainment confirmed the passing of the actor and former Produce 101 contestant due to the crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon district that claimed over 150 lives on October 29.
Following the tragedy, it was announced that filming for the K-drama Season of Kkokdu (literal translation), which stars Im and Lee, had been put on hold, per Soompi. Lee had reportedly finished filming his scenes in September. Im took to her personal Instagram page to pay tribute to her late co-star shortly after.
“Ji-han, you have to be happy in a better place,” wrote the actress, according to translations by Soompi. “Yesterday, I was supposed to film the whole day with you, but after hearing the news, we all gathered at your wake. No one could say anything for a long time, and we just sat in a daze.”
“I felt so cold, sad, and miserable after you were taken away so soon as you were just starting because I knew so well how hard you worked and how you wanted to do a good job,” Im recalled.
She also noted how Lee’s parents “held my hands and told me how you went home and happily bragged to them that I praised you for doing a good job”.
“I think I cried for a long while because I was sorry that I didn’t take care of you more and that it was a shame that I didn’t say one more nice thing or words of encouragement.”
Im added that she felt “so hurt to let [her] colleague go first”. “The [Season of Kkokdu] team and I will all work even harder for your share while thinking of you so that you can be proud from that place, and I hope you will be at peace now,” she said, before expressing her condolences for the other victims in the Itaewon tragedy: “To all those who became stars through this Itaewon tragedy, may you all rest in peace.”
Lee first broke out in the entertainment scene in 2017 as a contestant on the second season of Mnet’s idol audition reality series Produce 101. Following that, he later made an acting debut as the main lead in the 2019 web series Today Was Another Nam Hyun Day.
Partygoers were caught in a crowd crush in the popular Itaewon district on the night of October 29 due to Halloween festivities. The incident has so far claimed the lives of 156 people, according to a Korea Times report yesterday. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has since declared a nationwide period of mourning in light of the tragedy, which will last through this Saturday (November 5).