Game Over: Man Dies After Online Marathon

A South Korean man identified only by his family name Lee died Friday after playing the online game Starcraft for nearly fifty hours in an Internet cafe in Taegu, South Korea, according to police officials. The cause of death is believed to have been heart failure, presumably stemming from exhaustion.

Lee, age 28, reportedly parked in front of a computer to play Starcraft on August 3, and left the machine only for brief restroom breaks; some accounts say Lee took brief naps in the cafe, but ate only minimally during his marathon gaming session. When his mother couldn’t find Lee, she reportedly asked his former workplace colleagues to locate him; according to the South Korean daily paper JoongAng Ilbo, Lee told his former coworkers he would go home as soon as he finished the game.

Lee collapsed a few minutes later and was quickly moved to a hospital, but he died within a few hours.

Lee had recently quit his job to spend more time playing online games. South Korea is one of the world’s most "wired" nations, with an enormously popular computer gaming industry. Professional gamers can earn substantial amounts of money through sponsorships, television appearances, and tournament winnings.

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