SEOUL (AFP, Korea Herald/Asia News Network) - Six K-pop stars carried the coffin of fellow singer Kim Jong Hyun onto a hearse on Thursday (Dec 21), 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 surviving SHINee members - Onew, Key and Taemin - and Super Junior members Leeteuk, Eunhyuk and Donghae. Both boybands are managed by S.M. 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 around 8am. It was attended by Kim's family, as well as officials and artists of S.M, 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 taken 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, it has released five albums that swept charts at home and abroad, with some reaching No. 1 on the United States' Billboard World Albums chart.
People in crisis, feeling suicidal or who have lost someone to suicide can call 1800 221-4444 (24-hour hotline) or email email@example.com for emotional support. Visit sos.org.sg for more information.