On December 11, famed film director Kim Ki Duk has passed away from COVID-19 at age 59.
His death has been confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea. They responded to his death by saying,
On the morning of the 11th, our citizen Kim Ki Duk has passed away while undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
— The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea
Kim Ki Duk was just one week away from his 60th birthday when he passed. He was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 when he died of complications, just two days after his hospitalization. The director had been living in Latvia for the past month and had plans to settle down in the country, hoping to obtain a permanent residence there. It was after he did not show to a meeting on the 5th that his acquaintances began to search for him. Due to the patient privacy regulations of the hospital, it was only after his death that they were notified of his hospitalization and COVID-19 diagnosis.
Kim Ki Duk was a renowned director, known for being the only Korean director to have received awards at all three major film festivals, Cannes, Venice, and Berlin. In 2004, he received the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for Samaritan Girl. In the same year, he won the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival for 3-Iron. At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, he received the Prix Un Certain Regard for his work, Arirang and the Golden Lion at the 2012 International Film Festival for his film, Pieta.
In 2017, however, director Kim Ki Duk found himself accused of “physically assaulting an actress with a slap to her face and for forcing her to shoot a sex scene which was allegedly not part of the script in the movie Moebius.” Following the 2018 #MeToo movement in Korea, during which a PD Note episode had aired about his allegations, Kim Ki Duk sued the show for defamation but eventually lost the case. Since then he has remained away from the Korean movie industry — with the release of his newest work Human, Space, Time and Human permanently postponed.
Condolences to his family during this time. May he rest in peace.