Before his shocking death, the actor appeared happy and "full of life" while in Thailand

By Natasha Stoynoff
Updated June 05, 2009 03:45 PM
IAKONA/London Ent/Splash News Online

David Carradine entered the lobby of Bangkok’s Swissotel Nai Lert Park luxury hotel at about 3 p.m. last Sunday asking for a favor. Would they mind if he stretched his fingers and played the grand piano?

The hotel staff said be our guest, and for three days in a row the Kill Bill star serenaded people in the lobby with movie tunes. His final performance was late Tuesday night – two days before he was found dead.

“He was a great piano player,” says the hotel’s general manager, Aurelio Giraudo. “He was a man full of life. He was a very happy man. His face is smiling. A big smile.”

Shocking Death

As the mystery deepens around Carradine’s death, police have remained cautious about coming to conclusions. But they did confirm the shocking scene when a maid found the actor’s body. Carradine was nude in the closet of his luxury suite with one rope tied around his neck and another around his genitals.

“The two ropes were tied together,” says police Lt. Gen. Worapong Chewprecha, the Associated Pres reports. “It is unclear whether he committed suicide or not, or he died of suffocation or heart failure.” An autopsy has been ordered because of the “unusual circumstances” surrounding the death, says Dr. Nanthana Sirisap, director of Chulalongkorn Hospital’s Autopsy Center.

Actor Appeared Happy

Colleagues and hotel guests who witnessed Carradine’s demeanor days before he died described him as joyous and productive. By day, he was working hard on the set of his film, Stretch, and “things were going great,” says one member of the production. “We were liking what we saw. We are as surprised and shocked as everyone else.”

“Even though he’s 72, he didn’t look old at all,” says the hotel bartender, who described Carradine as “strong, happy” and dressed in jeans and T-shirt.

According to the police, Carradine entered his room Wednesday night, and the door stayed shut until the maid arrived to clean at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Toxicology Tests

“The room was a very normal hotel room,” says police Col. Somprasong Yenthuam. “Nothing seemed unusual, nothing seemed to have disappeared. The truth is, it was a very sad hanging.”

Yenthuam says a complete toxicology analysis will take about four weeks and at that time, they will conduct a press conference to present their findings. “I’m very careful to not jump to any conclusion about what’s happened here. It’s my job to give the facts as best as possible. I don’t want to make any conclusion until the autopsy is complete.”

If suicide was on the actor’s mind – a scenario those close to him say is impossible – it wasn’t obvious to those in the hotel. According to the bartender, Carradine made a reservation for a table for himself and a group of friends for a gathering.

The date of the reservation? Thursday, the day he was found dead.