On this day, fans of South Korean variety series “Running Man” are mourning the news that beloved cast member Lee Kwang-soo, 35, will be leaving the show after a good run of 11 years.
According to Lee’s agency, King Kong by Starship, Lee will be filming his last episode of the series on 24 May.
Lee is one of the seven original cast members of “Running Man”, which began in 2010. Actor Song Joong-ki and rapper Gary were also original members of the show who left in 2011 and 2016 respectively to focus on their acting and music careers.
The agency stated that Lee was leaving due to health reasons. It was difficult for him to participate in “Running Man” activities, which are known to be rather physically rigorous (they’re called “Running Man” after all, not “Walking Man”).
He had sustained an injury from a traffic accident in February 2020, which led to him fracturing his right ankle.
He has undergone regular therapy sessions for his injury, but according to the statement released by the agency, he is in need of some time to recover both physically and mentally.
Here’s the full statement released by the agency, as reported by Allkpop:
“We notify that Lee Kwang Soo will be leaving the cast of SBS’s ‘Running Man’ after his final recording on May 24.
“After becoming involved in his car accident last year, Lee Kwang-soo has received regular physical therapy; despite the continued treatment, there were times when he felt that it was difficult to maintain top physical condition during ‘Running Man’ filmings. As a result, Lee Kwang-soo held lengthy conversations with the production staff, crew, his fellow cast members, as well as the agency, and ultimately arrived at the conclusion that he needed time to recuperate, both physically and mentally.
“Because it is a program that Lee Kwang-soo called his home for the past 11 years, it was difficult for him to come to this decision. However, it was inevitable when considering his intention to show viewers a better image in the future.
“We sincerely thank all of the viewers for the love they showed Lee Kwang-soo on ‘Running Man’, and Lee Kwang-soo promises to greet you all again with a bright and healthy image.”
SBS, the broadcasting station of ‘Running Man’, has released a statement with well wishes for Lee, saying that the station respects his decision to step down from the show.
The other members of ‘Running Man’ and the production team have called Lee an “eternal member” of the show.
He has been given affectionate nicknames by fans of the show, including “Asia’s Prince”, “Giraffe” (rather obviously due to his towering at a whopping 1.92m), and “Betrayer”.
Indeed, with his comical antics bringing much laughter and amusement to “Running Man”, it’s not hard to see that he’ll be dearly missed by all “Running Man” fans.
Feature Image: Instagram (@masijacoke850714) / Facebook (이광수)