Suicide note tells of loneliness
- ASEAN/East Asia
Wednesday, 20 Dec 2017
Seoul: A top K-pop star wrote in a suicide note that he was “broken from inside” and “engulfed” by depression, it emerged as his death sent shockwaves among fans worldwide.
Kim Jong-hyun, 27-year-old lead singer of the hugely popular K-pop boyband SHINee, was found in a hotel room in the South Korean capital Seoul in what police said was suicide.
A coal briquette was burning on a frying pan – a common method of self-killing in South Korea, an ultra-competitive society with one of the world’s highest suicide rates.
Kim’s close friend, musician Nain9, released a suicide note on her Instagram account, saying he had asked her to publish the message in the event of his death.
“I am broken from inside. The depression that gnawed on me slowly has finally engulfed me entirely,” it said, adding he “couldn’t defeat it anymore”.
“I was so alone,” he went on. “The act of ending is difficult. I’ve lived until now because of that difficulty.”
“Please tell me I did a good job,” he implored, ending the note with:
“You’ve worked hard. You’ve really gone through a lot. Goodbye.”
The five-member SHINee debuted in 2008 and went on to lead the “Korean Wave” that saw South Korean pop culture develop a fan base across Asia and beyond.
Known for peppy songs and carefully choreographed dance numbers performed with military precision, SHINee has become one of the world’s best-known K-pop acts.
The band has released five albums that swept charts at home and abroad, with some of them reaching Number 1 on the US Billboard World Albums chart.
He released his first solo album in 2015, topping the Billboard World Albums chart, and performed at solo concerts in Seoul only last week.
K-pop stars undergo cut-throat competition and gruelling years-long training at the hands of agents, who dictate everything from music style to diet and even mobile phone use.
A master’s thesis by a prominent Seoul actress in 2009 said that 40% of actors or actresses had considered suicide at least once due to a lack of privacy, online bullying or unstable incomes.
Hundreds of fans paid their respects at a mourning altar in the Seoul hospital where his body lay.
“I came here to say the last farewell… since we fans apparently couldn’t be there for him when he needed help most,” said Jung Mont-kyung, 19. — AFP