Four weeks to say exactly how Carradine died: Thai police


June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 6, 2009 at 3:10 PM EDT

Thai police will need four weeks before they can say conclusively how American actor David Carradine died, officials said Saturday, as his body was flown back to the United States.

Police suspect Carradine, 72, died from a sex act that went wrong after his body was discovered Thursday morning hanging from a wardrobe rail in a Bangkok hotel room, naked and with ropes attached to his neck and penis.

Experts at a Bangkok hospital and from the Metropolitan police were conducting laboratory tests while officers were investigating if anybody else was involved in the death, a police commander said.

"(It) will take three weeks to examine the toxicology tests and after that everybody concerned will meet to conclude the cause of death. It will take four weeks," said local police commander Colonel Somprasong Yenthaum.

Carradine, star of 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" and the hit "Kill Bill" movies, was in the Thai capital to shoot a film called "Stretch."

An initial autopsy report revealed that the actor died from a sudden lack of oxygen and his body showed no signs of struggle.

Thai forensic expert Porntip Rojanasunan told AFP the death appeared to have been caused by auto-erotic asphyxiation, the practice of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

Somprasong said the police had questioned many witnesses over the death, mostly hotel staff, and were yet to speak to some members of the film crew with whom Carradine was working.

The actor's body was being repatriated on United Airlines flight 890 that left Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport at 6:48 am (2348 GMT Friday) bound for Los Angeles and New York via Tokyo, local media and officials said.

Prior to his death, staff at the Nai Lert Park hotel where Carradine had been staying said the actor seemed "very cheerful" and had entertained them by playing a piano in the hotel lobby on three nights.

Director Quentin Tarantino, actor Michael Madsen and comedian Rob Schneider were interviewed by US talk show host Larry King and quashed rumours that the death was a suicide.

"The thing I cannot get my head around is that there could have been a period of David's long life when he might have been suicidal, but this was not the time," said Tarantino, who directed Carradine in his "Kill Bill" movies.

"I am convinced, there was no way that he would have killed himself," added Schneider.

A Thai national newspaper Saturday carried a photograph of Carradine's body in his hotel room.

The actor was best known for his role as the fugitive half-Chinese Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine in the 1970s TV drama "Kung Fu."

But he failed to find great film success outside of cult "B movies" until Tarantino called on him to play the title character in the revenge-action films "Kill Bill" and "Kill Bill II."

The roles earned Carradine a fourth Golden Globe "Best Actor" nomination.

Carradine was part of an acting family that includes father John and brothers Keith and Robert.

He was married five times, most recently in 2004, and was the father of two daughters.

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