SEOUL • Six K-pop stars carried the coffin of fellow singer Kim Jong Hyun onto a hearse on Thursday, after he died leaving behind a note that spoke of his battle against loneliness and depression.
His body was taken to his funeral from the Asan Medical Centre in Seoul where it had been lying.
The procession was led by one of Kim's SHINee bandmates, Minho, dressed in black and bearing a plaque topped with a cross and reading "Kim Jong Hyun, believer".
Kim's sister followed, tears coursing down her cheeks as she carried a framed picture of him smiling at the camera.
The pallbearers were the three other remaining SHINee members - Onew, Key and Taemin - and Super Junior members Leeteuk, Eunhyuk and Donghae. Both boybands are managed by SM Entertainment.
The celebrities bowed their heads and prayed while waiting for the hearse, a black Lincoln limousine, to leave the building. People at the back sang Christian hymns.
Despite harsh winter weather, weeping fans in jackets, hats, scarves and masks waited outside for the vehicle to leave. They cried even harder as the hearse passed them by.
The private funeral started at about 8am. It was attended by Kim's family as well as staff and artists of SM, including Girls' Generation and EXO.
Kim, 27, was found unconscious at a rented studio apartment in Seoul on Monday. A coal briquette was burning in a frying pan - a common method of suicide in South Korea, an ultra-competitive society with one of the world's highest suicide rates.
He was pronounced dead shortly after being sent to hospital. Investigators ruled his death a suicide.
SHINee debuted in 2008 and went on to lead the Korean Wave.
Known for peppy songs and carefully choreographed dance numbers performed with military precision, they have released five albums that swept charts at home and abroad, with some reaching No. 1 on the United States' Billboard World Albums chart.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK