Renowned South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk died from complications related to Covid-19 on Friday in Riga, Latvia, Latvian news website Delfi reported. He was 59 years old.

“According to unofficial information, the world-famous director was planning to purchase a house in Jurmala and obtain a residence permit, but the director did not appear at the scheduled meeting,” the website said. ArtDocFest Rīga director Vitaly Mansky informed the website of Kim’s death at a hospital.

Leading South Korean newspaper Korea Herald confirmed the news. “Kim Ki-duk’s family confirmed to multiple Korean media that the news was correct and that they had received a call on the day,” Korea Herald reported.

Kim Ki-duk's Human, Space, Time, and Human.

Kim Ki-duk was among the most prominent South Korean filmmakers in the past 30 years and a favourite at international film festivals. His films were characterised by meditative themes punctuated with sex and violence.

His major movies include The Isle, 3-Iron, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, Moebius and Pieta. His 2011 documentary Arirang won the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes film Festival.

The provocative director’s reputation took a nosedive after he was accused of sexually assaulting actresses in 2017. He unsuccessfully tried to sue his accusers. His final film, Dissolve (2019), was set in Kazakhstan and made in the Russian language.

Kim Ki-duk's Pieta.