K-pop star Goo Hara, 28, found dead at home

South Korean celebrity Goo Ha-ra, a former member of popular K-pop girl group Kara, was found dead in her home in Seoul yesterday. She had just wrapped up a mini-tour in Japan from Nov 14 to 19 to promote her new album.
South Korean celebrity Goo Ha-ra, a former member of popular K-pop girl group Kara, was found dead in her home in Seoul yesterday. She had just wrapped up a mini-tour in Japan from Nov 14 to 19 to promote her new album. PHOTO: GOO HA-RA/INSTAGRAM

SEOUL • South Korean celebrity Goo Hara, who attempted suicide earlier this year, was found dead yesterday in her Seoul apartment, just days after completing a comeback tour in Japan.

Police said in a statement that the 28-year-old was found in her home in Seoul at around 6pm. They are investigating her death.

Goo - a former member of popular K-pop girl group Kara, which disbanded in 2016 - had earlier this month released a solo Japanese-language single, Midnight Queen, and had just wrapped up a mini-tour in Japan from Nov 14 to 19.

She had been in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka to promote her new album.

Goo's return to the stage came six months after a suicide attempt in May, when she was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive in her apartment in Gangnam.

This came after she made an alarming series of posts on Instagram, with one simply saying: "Goodbye".

Days after that suicide attempt, she said: "I'm sorry for causing concerns and a commotion.

"In terms of health, I am recovering... I had been in agony over a number of overlapping issues.

"But from now on, I will steel my heart and try to show up healthy."

Goo joined Kara in 2008 and debuted as a solo artist in 2015.

Before the suicide attempt, she had been embroiled in a public row with a former boyfriend whom she accused of assault and said had threatened to release sex tapes of the two of them.

Just last month, Goo's fellow K-pop star Sulli was found dead in her home. The 25-year-old, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri, was discovered on Oct 14 by her manager, who visited the house as he had been unable to reach her after their last phone call a day before.

Sulli took a hiatus from her group in 2014, citing malicious online comments targeted at her. In 2015, she left the group officially, but remained with SM Entertainment.

Two years ago, another SM Entertainment artist - boyband Shinee's Jonghyun - committed suicide at the age of 27. He had been battling depression.

South Korea is known for having some of the highest suicide rates among developed nations, and the country's celebrities have not been immune from it.

The K-pop industry is known for its cut-throat competitiveness, a lack of privacy, online bullying and relentless public pressure to maintain a wholesome image at all times.

The health of celebrities has been a cause for concern among fans who have blasted their management agencies for not taking adequate care of their artists.

After Sulli's death, her fans - who believe that the young star was affected by hate messages - started a petition, asking the government to mandate that netizens use their real names when they post comments.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2019, with the headline K-pop star Goo Hara, 28, found dead at home. Subscribe