The 64-year-old longtime civic activist, who has been Seoul’s mayor since 2011, was seen as a likely hopeful for the liberals in the 2022 presidential elections.
Seoul police confirmed to Journalists on Friday that the body of the Mayor of Seoul was found in the city’s mountains seven hours into the operation.
Earlier search teams had scoured Waryong Park, where police say he was recorded on CCTV footage at 10:53 a.m. on Thursday.
A police officer familiar with the case said the last cell phone signal of the Mayor of Seoul was detected in the neighbourhood of Seongbuk-gu, very close to his official residence in Jongno-gu.
When he was elected in a landslide victory against the ruling party nearly a decade ago — with no political ties or experience — it sparked a public frenzy.
His unexpected rise to the second most powerful position in the country was seen as a sign that South Koreans were tired of traditional politics.
The former human rights lawyer, who ran independently but forged an alliance with opposition parties, championed city welfare projects and became a symbol of reform.
The cause of his death is yet to be released.
However, reports have emerged that a female employee had filed a sexual harassment claim against the Mayor in the hours before he went missing, but there has been no confirmation that this was a factor.
The Mayor of Seoul was re-elected as mayor in 2014 and again in 2018.