SINGAPORE - Thousands of Singaporean fans of South Korean pop group SHINee turned up in a sea of black and white at Hong Lim Park on Wednesday (Dec 20) night to pay their respects to the band's lead singer Kim Jong Hyun at a memorial service organised for him.
The mood was sombre as many fans were spotted hugging and crying. Some took balloons to the event, others offered flowers and stuffed toys.
Post-it notes were also passed around for fans to write on as they left behind heartfelt farewell messages for their beloved idol.
At one point, the fans waved their light sticks and smartphones in the air as they sang the SHINee song Replay.
A young female fan who looked to be in her early teens sobbed and repeatedly said: "I just cannot believe it."
Kim, 27, who is better known by his stage name Jonghyun, had been found dead in a rented apartment on Monday (Dec 18) evening. According to a note he left behind, he had been "consumed" by depression.
The memorial service here was organised by a group of local SHINee fans led by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @majidarou. When contacted, the Twitter user declined to be interviewed.
Despite the large crowd at the event, the fans, made up mostly of young teenage girls, were quiet and orderly. They queued up patiently to get into the park despite the detailed identity checks against pre-registration forms.
According to a list of rules posted on @majidarou's Twitter feed, only 1,000 fans could be within the park compound at any one time, which meant that fans could only enter in batches. Those who could not get into the venue during the first round waited in silence for their turn at the two-hour event.
Student Nur Laila, 16, who showed up at the service with a single white rose in hand, told The Straits Times that she hopes the recent passing of Jonghyun will help to shed some light on depression.
She said: "K-pop idols always look so happy and they put on big smiles for their fans, but many people don't know how much they have to go through to put on the best shows for us.
"This has taught me to show more love and respect for our idols, to show them that they have our support no matter what."
Her friend, student Siti Umairah, 16, added: "I hope this will stop fans from leaving behind unnecessary hate comments online too."