K-pop star's suicide note reveals battle with depression
A top K-pop star wrote in a suicide note that he was "broken from inside" and "engulfed" by depression, it emerged on Tuesday as his death sent shockwaves among fans worldwide.
The body of Kim Jong-hyun, 27, lead singer of the hugely popular K-pop boyband SHINee, was found in a hotel room in the South Korean capital Seoul.
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 that he "couldn't defeat it any more".
"I was so alone. The act of ending is difficult. I've lived until now because of that difficulty. Please tell me I did a good job."
He ended the note with: "You've worked hard. You've really gone through a lot. Goodbye."
The five-member SHINee made its debut 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 have become one of the world's best-known K-pop acts.
The band have released five albums that swept charts at home and abroad, with some of them reaching No1 on the US Billboard World Albums chart.
Kim was seen as a model K-pop celebrity with flawless singing and dancing skills, and he rarely made headlines for bad behaviour.
He released his first solo album in 2015, topping the Billboard World Albums chart, and performed solo at concerts in Seoul only last week.
K-pop stars undergo cut-throat competition and gruelling, years-long training at the hands of their agents, who dictate everything from music style to diet and even mobile phone use. Many are also under pressure to maintain a squeaky-clean and wholesome image at all times.
A master's thesis by a prominent Seoul actress in 2009 said that 40 per cent of actors or actresses had considered suicide at least once due to a lack of privacy, online bullying or unstable incomes.
Hundreds of Kim's tearful fans paid their respects at a mourning altar in the Seoul hospital where his body lay.