Kim Jung Gi, the South Korean cartoonist who holds the Guinness World Record for ‘longest drawing by an individual’ has died of a heart attack.
The 47-year-old passed away ‘suddenly’ on Monday, October 3, while in Paris, collaborator Hyun Jin Kim announced today.
Mr. Jung Gi, having finished his last schedule in Europe, was heading for New York when he experienced ‘chest pains’ at the airport.
He was taken to hospital for surgery but ‘sadly passed away.’
Mr. Jung Gi leaves behind a wife and two children.
The cartoonist’s latest exhibition, housed at The Daniel Maghen Gallery, will remain on display until Saturday at the request of his family.
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you of the sudden passing of Kim Jung Gi,’ Mr Jin Kim told The Independent, detailing how the artist suffered a heart attack at the airport.
‘Jung Gi went to the airport to fly to New York, where he experienced chest pains and was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery, but sadly passed away.’
He concluded: ‘After having done so much for us, you can now put down your brushes. Thank you Jung Gi.’
The Daniel Maghen Gallery also paid tribute to the late artist in a heartfelt Instagram post reading: ‘It is with a great sadness that we inform you of the death of Kim Jung Gi on Monday evening in Paris.
‘His sudden disappearance contrasts with the immense happiness he brought us. We are speechless.
‘Daniel Maghen, the entire gallery team, and particularly Olivier Souillé, who had accompanied him for ten years, are terribly affected by his loss.’
The gallery issued its condolences to Mr Jung Gi’s wife, children, and loved ones, as well as his collaborators and fans for ‘whom his disappearance will leave a great void.’
Mr. Jung Gi, born in Goyang-Si, South Korea, expressed interest in the arts at a young age and enrolled in a fine arts school at the age of 19. He later earned a Master of Art and Design degree at Dong-Eui University of Busan, according to his online biography.
The artist also served two years in the South Korean army as a part of the Special Forces Unit where he was able to memorise the array of different weapons and vehicles.
Mr. Jung Gi has previously said his most notable career asset is his memory, which he developed over a number of years.
‘His ability to render extremely complicated scenes near-perfectly from memory, without the aid of references, has stretched the boundaries of what many artists believed was possible,’ his artist biography states.
He collaborated with several other comic book artists throughout his career, created art for political residences, and illustrated novels and album artwork. He released six sketchbooks during his lifetime and also holds the record for ‘Longest drawing by an individual in the Guinness World Records book.