Carradine may have died from sex act: Thai police

US actor David Carradine may have died from a sex act gone wrong, Thai police said Friday, as they probed the evidence after the "Kung Fu" star was found hanged in his Bangkok hotel room.

A maid at a luxury hotel in the Thai capital where he was staying found Carradine hanging naked and bound in a closet Thursday morning, they said. He was 72.

"There was a rope tied around his neck and another rope tied at his sex organ, and the two ropes were tied together and hung in the closet," police commander Lieutenant General Worapong Siewpreecha told reporters.

"Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide but he may have died from masturbation," he said.

The star of 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" and the "Kill Bill" movies was in the Thai capital to shoot a film called "Stretch."

An initial autopsy report revealed Carradine died from a sudden lack of oxygen and his body showed no signs of struggle, a hospital worker who had read the report told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"He died from acute lack of air. Forensic workers have looked at nail and tissue samples to check if the DNA matches DNA found on the rope," the worker said.

If the samples matched, it would suggest Carradine had tied the ropes himself.

A full autopsy report was expected within the next day, while drug and alcohol tests were being carried out along with forensic investigations, hospital staff and police said.

Police have questioned members of the film production crew, who told them the actor "drank beer from morning until evening the day before he was found dead," Worapong said.

Forensic expert Porntip Rojanasunan, who works with Thailand's justice ministry, told AFP the death appeared to be caused by an "auto-erotic accident."

Police officer Pirom Janthapirom said Carradine's body showed no sign of bruising. Security cameras showed no one going in or out of Carradine's room, which had been locked from the inside, he told AFP.

A restaurant worker at the Nai Lert Park hotel where Carradine had been staying said the actor had entertained staff by playing a piano in the hotel lobby on three nights.

"He seemed very cheerful, he was laughing and joking with the staff," the restaurant worker said, adding that Carradine had a double brandy before going to bed at 10:30 pm on Wednesday night.

The producer of "Stretch," French firm MK2, said Carradine had been found three days before filming was due to end.

A spokesman for the company said Carradine's death "could be accidental."

A spokeswoman for his Los Angeles agents refused to speculate on the cause of death.

He was married five times, most recently in 2004, and was the father of two daughters.

People look at the moon at the Temple of Hercules at the Citadel in Amman. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed