Jonghyun’s friend publishes suicide note
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(Editors note: This story was revised. As an Inquirer editorial policy, we do not publish the content of farewell letters of suicides.)
A top K-pop star’s close friend has published his suicide note, various news agencies reported on Tuesday.
Kim Jong-Hyun, 27-year-old lead singer of the hugely popular K-pop boyband SHINee, was found in a hotel room in the South Korean capital Seoul in what police said was suicide.
Agence France Presse reported that Kim’s close friend, musician Nain9, released a suicide note on her Instagram account, saying he had asked her to publish the message in the event of his death.
The five-member SHINee debuted in 2008 and went on to lead the “Korean Wave” that saw South Korean pop culture develop a fan base across Asia and beyond.
Known for peppy songs and carefully-choreographed dance numbers performed with military precision, SHINee have become one of the world’s best-known K-pop acts.
The band has released five albums that swept charts at home and abroad, with some of them reaching Number 1 on the US Billboard World Albums chart.
Kim was seen as a model K-pop celebrity, who boasted flawless singing and dancing skills and rarely made headlines with the romantic relationships, drink-driving or drug use that derailed the careers of many other artists.
He released his first solo album in 2015, topping the Billboard World Albums chart, and performed at solo concerts in Seoul only last week.
K-pop stars undergo cut-throat competition and grueling years-long training at the hands of their agents, who dictate everything from music style to diet and even mobile phone use.
Many are also pressed to maintain a squeaky-clean and wholesome image at all times.
Hundreds of Kim’s tearful fans paid their respects at a mourning altar in the Seoul hospital where his body lay.
“I came here to say the last farewell… since we fans apparently couldn’t be there for him when he needed help most,” said Jung Min-Kyung, 19.
“I think our country has very high expectations of celebrities,” she added.
Social media was flooded by thousands of messages of mourning, with photos showing throngs of fans sobbing near a makeshift memorial outside the Korean embassy in Santiago, Chile.
Many other K-pop stars in the stable of SHINee’s agents SM Entertainment — which dominates K-pop — cancelled public appearances to visit the mourning altar in Seoul.
Kim’s funeral would be held on Thursday, the firm said in a statement, adding: “Other members of SHINee as well as other artists at our company are all mourning his death amid deep sorrow and shock.” Agence France Presse/ac
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