Fans and fellow artists of K-pop star Jonghyun pay their last respects

The lead singer of top South Korean boy band SHINee has died in a possible suicide that robs fans of the globally-famous K-pop genre of one of its biggest stars.
A memorial for popular K-pop star Jonghyun (above) at Seoul's Asan Medical Centre. Hundreds of fans (left) have turned up at the memorial hall and some were seen wailing uncontrollably.
A memorial for popular K-pop star Jonghyun (above) at Seoul's Asan Medical Centre.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A memorial for popular K-pop star Jonghyun (above) at Seoul's Asan Medical Centre. Hundreds of fans (left) have turned up at the memorial hall and some were seen wailing uncontrollably.
Hundreds of fans (left) have turned up at the memorial hall and some were seen wailing uncontrollably.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Fans and fellow artists of K-pop star Jonghyun pay their last respects

A smiley photo of popular K-pop star Jonghyun, his eyes twinkling as his pearlies shine, stood framed by flowers in a memorial hall, a stark contrast to the sombre mood around the room.

Tears flowed as fans and fellow artists turned up at Seoul's Asan Medical Centre yesterday morning to pay their last respects to the lead singer of pop group SHINee.

The 27-year-old star, whose full name is Kim Jong Hyun, died on Monday, leaving behind a final note that revealed his fight with depression and how he could not overcome "the sadness swallowing me up".

He was found by police in a rented studio apartment in the upscale Gangnam district, after his older sister received a suicidal message from him. Police have ruled the case as suicide.

Kim's sudden death sent shockwaves throughout the K-pop world, with fans from across the globe taking to social media to pay tribute to the singer, who had just staged two successful solo concerts in Seoul last week.

SHINee posted a black-and-white photo of him on Twitter, with the message: "Jonghyun was the best artist, loving music more than anyone else, enjoying the stage and communicating with fans through music. He will be remembered forever."

 

The photo and message were also on the Instagram page of the group's talent agency, SM Entertainment.

SM founder Lee Soo Mun was spotted at Kim's memorial service, together with his artists including singer BoA and members of pop groups Girls' Generation, EXO and NCT.

SHINee members Minho, Taemin, Onew and Key were named as part of the mourning family and the first three were seen receiving visitors at the door. Key was reportedly overseas and said to be flying back after receiving the news.

Hundreds of fans made their way to the memorial hall to say goodbye to their beloved idol. Some were seen wailing uncontrollably as others tried to console them.

Meanwhile, tributes to Kim continued to flood social media yesterday.

His close friend, vocalist Nine9 of pop group Dear Cloud, shared his last letter on Instagram. She said Kim confided in her "his deep and dark stories" some time ago and she tried but failed to stop him from taking his own life.

He sent her his final note with instructions to disclose it after he was gone and she did so after consulting with his family. "I'm concerned about the possible controversies, but... I decided this was the last thing I could do for him."

Kim's funeral will be held tomorrow morning. It will be a private affair for close friends and family, according to SM.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2017, with the headline 'Tears flow at memorial hall'. Print Edition | Subscribe