The Facebook account for Kim Jung Gi – or Jung Gi Kim – shared the tragic news. "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you of the sudden passing of Kim Jung Gi. After finishing his last schedule in Europe, 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." Kim Jung Gi, famed for his intricate, fast and spontaneously-drawn huge crowd scenes, was travelling to New York Comic Con, where he was a guest and exhibiting in Artists Alley.
The Paris gallery which was exhibiting his work also posted the news with more details, saying "It is with a great sadness that we inform you of the death of Kim Jung Gi on Monday evening in Paris. The South Korean artist died after a heart attack at the age of 47. 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. All our thoughts are turned to his family, his wife and his two children, his friends, his collaborators Kim Hyun Jin, Boin Lee, Jean-Christophe Caurette… and his fans, for whom his disappearance will leave a great void. At the request of his relatives, the exhibition dedicated to Kim Jung Gi, presented at the Daniel Maghen gallery, will continue until October 8, 2022."
Kim Jung Gi was born in Goyang-Si, in the province of Kyongki-Do, in South Korea, studying at the Fine Arts School, where he majored in Art & Design. He served in the army for over two years, before drawing comedy comics for the manwha magazine Young Jump, and then started to teach the artform at university. He drew 6 volumes of the manwha webtoon, TLT or Tiger the Long Tail, as well as illustrated two novels written by the French author Bernard Werber.
He began creating sketchbooks, with thousands of pages of drawings, worked in advertising, managed AniChanga, his drawing school in Seoul, and collaborated on a number of French graphic novels, as well as a cover artist for a number of American comic books such as The Flash and Civil War II. But he will be best known for his public live drawing events, and it was that which brought him the most fame in 2011, after a video of him drawing live at Bucheon Comic Festival went viral. The international reaction from professionals and general members of the public alike was one of bafflement and amazement, with the belief that it had to be trickery of a sort. It was not. And his live drawing performances in which he would draw huge detailed scenes without preparation, pencilling, sketching or research, saw him enter the Guinness Book Of World Records for the longest drawing by an individual record. He was set to do such a performance at NYCC as part of the Charity Art Auction.
This tragic news comes days after the death of Drew Ford from coronavirus, who was also to attend New York Comic Con. It is a sombre beginning to the event. Those who wish to send a note or a drawing to his family, are asked to send it to email@example.com.