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Actor Andrew Koenig found dead in Vancouver

Former Growing Pains star Andrew Koenig was found dead in Vancouver.

The actor famous for playing the stoic Russian navigator in the original Star Trek struggled Thursday to keep his voice steady as he announced his son's body had been found in a Vancouver park, dead from an apparent suicide.

Walter Koenig, who played Pavel Chekov in the 1960s cult hit, said he has received hundreds of e-mails since he and his wife held a news conference the day before asking for help in finding their missing son, a man they said fought depression his whole life.

Koenig implored those people to reach out.

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"If you're one of those people and you feel you can't handle it any more, you know, if you can learn anything from this, it's that there's people out there who really care," Koenig said, his voice shaking, his face haggard.

Andrew Koenig, 41, was best known for his role as Richard "Boner" Stabone in the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains. His parents said Wednesday he had been off his medication when he vanished during a visit to Vancouver, a city he came to love after shooting a television episode here years ago.

He lived in Vancouver for three years and during that time, had little contact with his parents.

Koenig was supposed to return to Los Angeles on Feb. 16, but never showed up. He was last seen Feb. 14 in Stanley Park, one of his favourite places in the city.

Vancouver Police said the man's body was found about 30 to 40 metres off a popular trail, in a densely wooded area near marshland. They wouldn't release the time or cause of his death.

His father said two friends of 10 that formed a private search party Thursday found Andrew's body about noon. About 30 police and members of three search-and-rescue agencies had already combed the park two days prior, including where he was found, but turned up nothing.

"He was unseen from the path," said Const. Jana McGuinness.

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His parents begged for their privacy Thursday, making brief statements at the police stables inside the park, about one-kilometre from where their son was discovered.

Walter Koenig made it clear the e-mails he's received from people who have lost loved ones to suicide, and from others who say they've considered it, have impacted him.

Emotion poured out as he spoke to those people.

"Before you make that final, final decision, check it out again. Talk to somebody. And for families who have somebody who they fear are susceptible to this kind of behaviour, don't ignore it, don't rationalize it. Extend a hand."

Judy Koenig, Andrew's mother, said people need to familiarize themselves with the signs of suicidal behaviour. She said her son had many places to turn, but his condition meant he didn't know that.

"All the people up here, from the police to his friends, have shown love which he didn't realize was available to him," she said.

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Koenig's parents said before their son vanished, he gave away and sold some of his possessions and even cleared out his apartment in Los Angeles. He gave his landlord notice and refused a job two weeks earlier.

He last spoke with his mother a few days before he disappeared. She described him as sounding "up, but detached" during their conversation.

Walter Koenig received a letter from his son a few days later, although he didn't reveal what exactly was in the letter.

Koenig said Wednesday his son's depression had been a lifelong concern, but it hadn't stopped him from pursuing a career first as an actor and more recently as a video producer for Internet films and podcasts.

Andrew Koenig's other television credits include Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, G.I. Joe and My Two Dads, and he has appeared in several movies including NonSeNse, InAlienable and The Theory of Everything.

His father also noted his son's activism on environmental issues and, more recently, for the plight of refugees from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

He was arrested in 2008 during the Rose Bowl parade in California, while protesting China's support for the country's military junta government.

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