Notable Deaths ›

Jhoon Rhee (1932 – 2018), "father of American Taekwondo"

Getty Images / WireImage / Albert L. Ortega

The 10th-degree black belt was a friend of martial arts legend Bruce Lee

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the "father of American Taekwondo," has died at the age of 86. 

His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died Monday after a long illness in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of the nation's capital. 


Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox.

Jhoon Rhee was a 10th-degree black belt credited with spreading taekwondo in the United States, especially around the nation's capital, after emigrating from Korea in the 1950s. He opened his first taekwondo school in Washington, D.C., in 1962. By the 1980s, Rhee had 11 schools in the Washington area. 

Rhee became friends with legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee and appeared in a 1973 movie titled "When Taekwondo Strikes." 

Chun Rhee said funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized. 

We invite you to share condolences for Jhoon Rhee in his Guest Book.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.