Memorial service for SHINee singer Jonghyun draws fans and K-pop artists

The portrait of Kim Jong Hyun is seen on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on Dec 19, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD) - A memorial service for SHINee singer Kim Jong Hyun is being held at the Asan Medical Centre in Seoul before the Thursday funeral.

His bandmates Onew, Key and Minho are helping to attend to the mourners who include S.M. Entertainment founder Lee Soo Man and members of K-pop acts Girls' Generation, EXO and NCT.

Kim, better known as Jonghyun, was found in a rented apartment in Seoul on Monday, reported The Korea Herald. The 27-year-old had suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead after attempts to revive him failed.

Police confirmed on Tuesday that his death was a suicide, saying they would wrap up the case after talking to his family.

Hundreds of fans also turned up at the Asan Medical Centre to offer their condolences. Many wept in silence and the few who broke out wailing were consoled by fellow fans.

"I couldn't think of anything (when I heard the news). Actually, though I saw (funeral altars) there but I still don't feel it's real," said Im Hye Rim, a 27-year-old fan.

She added that she felt as if she was close to the singer. "I liked him just because he was a good singer. But as I got to know him more, he was a very sensitive and mischievous person. I really liked that. I felt as if he's just a nice brother rather than a celebrity."

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Valentina, 24-year-old from Chile who had been a fan for eight years, said she never imagined such a thing could happen. "I even went to his concert recently. We (the fans) always knew that he was sensitive but. .. ," the tearful fan trailed off.

Fans were further saddened at the evidence that showed how much the singer had suffered before making the tragic decision.

In the posthumously revealed will which Jonghyun had sent to his close friend Nine9 of the band Dear Cloud, he laid bare the serious state of depression he suffered.

"I was broken from inside. The depression slowly chipped me away, finally devouring me," he wrote.

Jonghyun indicated that he had sought medical help for his depression but it did not work out for him. Nine9 said she and Jonghyun's family agreed that the letter should be revealed to the public.

"I'm concerned over possible controversies but I think he (Jonghyun) expected that when he asked (me to take the letter). I decided to do the last thing I can do for him," she said.

Jonghyun's death sparked calls from the fans to S.M. Entertainment, urging it to take better care of artists. The K-pop artists, particularly from leading agencies, are said to undergo tough training and hectic schedules from a very young age.

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