A perforation in the small intestine of late rock musician Shin Hae-chul might be linked to the surgery he received days before his death, the National Forensic Service said Monday.
"The perforation, which caused his death, appears to have formed during the surgery to address adhesive obstruction in the abdominal cavity," chief of the NFS Seoul office Choi Young-shik said.
He added that the tentative conclusion is based on the autopsy and that other elements including the CT scan will be taken into account to make the final conclusion.
"The cause of Shin's death is currently thought to have been peritonitis, pericarditis and septicemia."
Peritonitis is the inflammation of the lining that covers the inner wall of the abdomen and pericarditis is the inflammation of the sack that surrounds the heart.
On Oct. 17, Shin underwent an intestinal surgery at Seoul Sky Hospital, the same hospital at which he had gastric bypass surgery five years ago.
The full results of the autopsy will not be officially announced for up to two weeks, but speculations have risen that an intestinal perforation may have caused the infection that led to his demise.
Shin died on Oct. 27 after suffering from a massive heart attack on Oct. 22 that left him in a comatose state for five days. The cardiac arrest followed an infection in his intestines and abdominal cavity lining, according to his agency, KCA Entertainment.
According to local broadcaster SBS, a perforation in Shin's small intestine likely caused the infection. The CT scan results obtained by the broadcaster shows a perforation of about 1 centimeter in diameter in the small intestine.
Shin's wife has since filed a criminal complaint against the hospital, raising allegations of manslaughter by malpractice. She has also claimed that the hospital stapled his stomach without his consent.
As the NFS searches for the cause of his death, the police plan to summon hospital officials including its chief in the near future.
The police raided the hospital on Saturday, and secured medical records from Shin's surgery on Oct. 17 until the time of his death.