Embattled former President Roh Moo-hyun — a reformist shamed by a corruption scandal that tarnished his image as a "clean" politician — jumped to his death while hiking in the mountains behind his rural home in South Korea, his lawyer said. He was 62.Shows you the difference between our countries. Our shamed ex-presidents go from impeachment to raking in millions of dollars a year traveling the globe soaking in the idol worship.
Roh was hiking in Bongha village when he threw himself off a steep cliff around 6:40 a.m. Saturday, lawyer Moon Jae-in told reporters in the southern city of Busan. He said Roh left a suicide note.
"Too many people are suffering because of me," he wrote, according to South Korean media.
Roh was taken to Busan National University Hospital, where he was declared dead several hours later.
A self-taught lawyer who lifted himself out of poverty to reach the nation's highest office, Roh prided himself on his clean record in a country with a long history of corruption. He served as president from 2003 to 2008.
But he and his family have been ensnared in recent weeks in a burgeoning bribery scandal.
The suicide — the first by a South Korean president — stunned the nation. South Koreans nationwide huddled around TV screens watching news broadcasts.
"I was utterly shocked," said Chun Soon-im, 63, of Seoul. "They say 'hate the sin but not the sinner,' and that's how I feel. The investigation must continue and we must get to the truth, but I cannot help feeling sorry for the man and those left behind."
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