Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38.
Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's south side when a vehicle struck the motorized rickshaw.
Her death was confirmed on the Facebook page of The Cambodian Space Project - a western and Cambodian rock hybrid band formed in 2009 that has toured around the world.
Her ex-husband and Cambodian Space Project co-founder, Julien Poulson, took to Facebook with the news and said he was “filled with grief and sorrow”.
“I am sorry to say that Channthy's life has ended way too soon. She was a joy and inspiration to know in life and I can't believe she has gone,” he wrote.
“Channthy was a love of my life and a very dear friend,” he said. “I feel so sorry that her life has mostly been very difficult and will be more so for the family she leaves behind.”
She has a 13-year-old son, Makara. Her body has been taken to Prey Veng, where she was born, to prepare for a funeral.
Earlier that night, Channthy wrote on her Facebook page that she was celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Sun and Moon Hotel.
The accident occurred at about 1:30am near the intersection of Street 163 and Mao Tse Toung Boulevard, when a 21-year-old driving a Toyota Prius allegedly collided with the tuk-tuk in which Channthy was travelling.
Witnesses interviewed by local media at the site said it appeared Channthy had been knocked from the tuk-tuk and hit her head against the ground.
The Prius driver was charged with negligent driving causing injury, which carries a maximum prison term of three years, according to Phnom Penh traffic police deputy chief Sem Sokunthea.
Sokunthea said Channthy was travelling in the tuk-tuk with a British man, who was taken to Hong Hak Clinic for medical treatment.
According to Nerm Penh, deputy police chief of Tuol Tompoung I commune, the driver was taken into protective custody by police before being transferred to the traffic authority.
“The suspect was sent to commune police office in order to prevent the mob violence,” Penh said. Last week a mob attacked a university professor who was accused of a hit-and-run.
Penh said the tuk-tuk driver received a small head injury and the car driver was unharmed. Pictures from the scene show the frame of the tuk-tuk bent out of shape and the badly-damaged car bonnet.
Poulson, who arrived in Cambodia on Tuesday to be with Channthy’s family, said, “My heart is broken.”
“She was also my co-pilot in the Cambodian Space Project and through this shared experience, the music, the friendships and the love we shared,” he said. “I am also grateful to know that I was able to share so much life with Channthy.”
Channthy performs with The Cambodian Space Project in 2016: