By THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL — An actor found dead at the Los Angeles home rented by television personality George Stroumboulopoulos is being remembered by friends and family as a free spirit who loved the outdoors and always had a smile on his face.
John Struthers, who went to high school with Richard Hong in Montreal, described his friend as “the type of guy it was tough not to like.”
“He was just a good spirit and he always had a good attitude — smiling and fun-loving,” he said.
Struthers said Hong grew up in Montreal before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. In high school, Hong was involved in sports and played on the basketball team, he said.
When they were last in touch about five years ago, Struthers said Hong had turned to surfing and was pursuing acting, but was otherwise “just the same.”
“He was a positive spirit for everyone around him,” he said. “For such a good person to be taken so early is really incredible.”
Hong’s sister also posted a short message on Facebook saying her brother would “forever be missed.”
“He had such a sweet, pure &free loving spirit,” Virginia Hong wrote. “He was too young to be taken so soon.”
The 41-year-old actor was found dead early Friday. Police said he died of blunt force trauma.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles police department said that no arrests had been made as of Sunday afternoon, and no suspects had been identified.
On Friday, officer Aareon Jefferson of the LAPD told The Canadian Press that witnesses directed officers to the body of an “apparent homicide” victim and told them that a man in a black jacket was seen fleeing the area.
A search of the neighbourhood — supported by a police helicopter and a canine unit — was unable to locate the suspect.
Stroumboulopoulos said in a statement Friday that he was “heartbroken” after a “dear friend” was found dead.
“There’s so much to say but I’m at a loss for words so just love your people and I will have more to say when we know more about what happened,” he wrote at the time.
Stroumboulopoulos became the host of “Hockey Night in Canada” in 2014, but left earlier this year to “explore new creative opportunities.” He won numerous Gemini awards as a CBC host and had a short-lived talk show on CNN before “Hockey Night in Canada.”