K-pop superstar Jonghyun dead at 27

Police said suicide will be investigated as a possibility.


Tess Cagle


Published Dec 18, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 7:41 am CDT

K-pop superstar Jonghyun, born Kim Jong-hyun, was found dead by police on Monday. He was 27 years old.

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Jonghyun was found unconscious in an apartment in Seoul, at approximately 6:45pm local time, according to Soomoi. Emergency responders performed CPR and the singer was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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The police visited the apartment after Jonghyun’s sister filed a report of disappearance. Soomoi said she had received an alarming text message from Jonghyun that said, “It has been really hard. Let me go. Tell me I did well. This is my last goodbye.”

Police told the BBC Korean Service that suicide will be investigated as a possibility.

Jonghyun was one of the five members of K-pop group SHINee, formed by SM Entertainment in 2008. Jonghyun debuted as a solo artist on January 12, 2015, with his first EP, Base. On May 24, 2016, Jonghyun released his first studio album, She Is, which rose to No. 4 on Billboard‘s World Albums and No. 20 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Albums.

Aside from his music, Jonghyun was also an advocate for LGBTQ rights and was vocal about his opinion of the Korean government’s education policy.

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Fans around the world paid tribute to the K-pop star on Twitter.

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Fans waiting outside the hospital said Jonghyun was transferred to the ICU and had not died. These reports were unconfirmed by the hospital and police, however, which both confirmed he died after reaching the hospital. SM Entertainment also confirmed he has died.

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For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.),  Samaritans (U.K.), or a South Korean suicide hotline listed here.

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*First Published: Dec 18, 2017, 9:56 am CST