SEOUL, May 29 (UPI) -- Thousands of South Koreans Friday put aside concerns of war threats from North Korea to attend the funeral in Seoul of former President Roh Moo-hyun.
Tearful mourners, displaying colors of yellow that Roh had used in his 2002 presidential campaign, gathered at the capital's Gyeongbok royal palace to pay tribute to a man they regarded as a challenger of the country's political establishment and regionalism, Yonhap news agency reported.
The 62-year-old Roh, who led his country from 2003 to 2008, died Saturday after jumping off a mountain cliff near his rural home while an alleged bribery investigation had been under way.
In his memorial address, Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said Roh had "spent his life fighting for human rights, democracy and the end of authoritarianism." He said the country will seek to follow Roh's wishes of reconciliation between the two Koreas.
Roh's funeral comes as North Korea claims it has conducted a second nuclear test and a series of missile firings. The Communist country also has talked of a military confrontation with the South.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was among about 3,000 people attending the funeral, Yonhap said. Those who could not enter the palace watched the ceremonies on a large screen outside.
CNN said in a suicide note released by his lawyer, Roh, who was to be cremated Friday, wrote: "I am in debt to too many people. Too many people have suffered because of me. And I cannot imagine the suffering they will go through in the future."