Three-term lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan of the small opposition Justice Party was found dead near a Seoul apartment building on Monday morning. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him before he was pronounced dead, police said.
South Korean media including Yonhap news agency reported Roh leapt to his death from the building after leaving a suicide note saying he feels sorry to his family.
Police said they couldn’t immediately confirm the report.
The independent counsel investigating the rigging scandal, Huh Ik-bum, told a televised briefing that he feels distressed with the “tragic news” of Roh’s death. Huh said he personally “respects” Roh and will pray for his soul.
South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. A string of business executives, K-pop stars and other celebrities have killed themselves.
If Roh’s death is determined as a suicide, he would be the highest-profile politician who killed himself or herself since former President Roh Moo-hyun jumped to his death in 2009 amid a corruption scandal involving his family.