He was a prominent member of one of South Korea’s biggest boy bands, a successful solo artist and songwriter, but this did not stop talented singer Jonghyun from feeling lonely and depressed.
The K-pop superstar, full name Kim Jong-hyun, was one of the five members of SHINee, with a string of number one hits in their home country.
Jonghyun’s death was confirmed by his management company, SM Entertainment, which said: “We are sorry to share such heartbreaking and tragic news… SHINee’s Jonghyun left us suddenly.”
According to the Korea Herald, the singer was taken to the hospital after being found unconscious at an apartment in the Gangnam district of in Seoul. He died at the age of 27 in an apparent suicide.
The sad news broke after emergency services were alerted by the singer’s sister and he was later pronounced dead at the hospital. His sister raised the alarm after receiving a number of text messages from her brother, including one saying “please let me go” and “this is my last farewell”.
Police said Jonghyun’s sister called them to the apartment about 6 p.m. Monday, reportedly after receiving the troubling text messages from him.
Subsequently, Jonghyun was rushed to a nearby university hospital but was declared dead later that evening.
In the room where he was found, a coal briquette was burning on a frying pan — a common method of self-killing in South Korea, a society with one of the world’s highest suicide rates.
Shortly after his death, Jonghyun’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.
“I am broken from inside. The depression that gnawed on me slowly has finally engulfed me entirely,” it said, adding he “couldn’t defeat it anymore”.
“I was so alone,” he went on. “The act of ending is difficult. I’ve lived until now because of that difficulty.”
“Please tell me I did a good job,” he implored, ending the note with: “You’ve worked hard. You’ve really gone through a lot. Goodbye.”
Lesser-known facts about Jonghyun
Jonghyun shot to fame when the band formed by K-pop hit factory SM Entertainment released their debut EP, Replay in 2008. The singer had a huge fan base as the lead singer of the popular K-pop band, SHINee
Being a singer and an accomplished dancer wasn’t all he had to offer his band as Jonghyun also played a large part in the group’s songwriting and production. He later launched a successful solo career in 2015.
The band also captured the hearts of music lovers outside South Korea. They have recorded a string of Japanese-language albums and sold out the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome. Earlier this year, the group went on a world tour that took place in the US and released their fifth album, titled Five.
In addition to being a successful singer, the SHINee singer also made headlines for voicing his opinion on issues like the government’s education policy and for speaking out in support of LGBT rights.
May his soul find the peace it seeks.