The Associated Press reports that actor David Carradine’s death may have been accidental, and not the result of suicide as originally suspected. Carradine, who made a name for himself in the 1970s with his starring role in the series “Kung Fu,” was found in a hotel closet on Thursday with a rope tied to his neck and genitals, and Thai police are now saying that his demise may have been the result of accidental suffocation.
"All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide," Tiffany Smith of Binder & Associates, Carradine’s management company, told the Associated Press. "We're just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give ... and that's not something David would ever do to himself."
Thai police completed an autopsy on Friday, but due to the unclear cause of death, results are not expected to be made public for at least three weeks. These unusual circumstances have prompted a great deal of speculation regarding Carradine’s demise. According to the Associated Press:
Pornthip Rojanasunand, director of Thailand's Central Institute of Forensic Science, said Carradine may have died attempting a sex act known as auto-erotic asphyxiation — cutting off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.
The practice is said to result in a form of giddiness and euphoria — similar to alcohol or drug intoxication — that enhances the sexual experience.
"If you hang yourself by the neck, you don't need so much pressure to kill yourself. Those who get highly sexually aroused tend to forget this fact," Pornthip said.
Carradine was in Thailand working on a film at the time of his death.