Hit South Korean pop-group SHINee is down to four members after the boy-band’s lead singer Kim Jonghyun, 27, died on Tuesday due to suspected suicide.
According to The Korea Herald, the singer was rushed to the Konkuk University Hospital after he was found unconscious in an apartment in the Cheongdam-dong neighborhood of southern Seoul’s Gangnam District. He was pronounced dead after emergency CPR procedures failed to revive him.
The group’s record label S.M. Entertainment confirmed Jonghyun’s death in a statement released on Monday.
“On December 18, Shiny member Jonghyun suddenly left us,” the statement read. “The deceased was found dead in a residence in Cheongdam – dong, Seoul, and transferred to a nearby university hospital.”
Police confirmed they responded to a call from Jonghyun’s sister at 4:42 pm on Monday (Dec. 18), who said her brother may have attempted suicide – probably on the basis of a series of disturbing text messages the singer is reported to have sent his sister, including words like “last goodbye.”
Local news agencies report that investigators found burning coal briquettes in a pan when they arrived at the dead singer’s apartment, leading them to suspect carbon monoxide inhalation as the possible cause of death – further validating the suicide theory. Autopsy results are awaited before actual cause of death can be determined.
“Shinee was a really innovative boy band, and they really represented how K-pop is this very innovative, boundary-less music scene,” K-pop columnist and senior digital editor at Fuse TV, Jeff Benjamin, told The Washington Post. “Jonghyun debuted as a teenager, and I think a lot of people felt like they grew up with him,” he said.
As opposed to American boy bands, SHINee has kept up with the times and has maintained good record sales over the years.
“Our boy bands tend to maybe not age so gracefully,” said Benjamin, adding that SHINee was “still just as hot as they were.”
He also praised the group’s strong bonding, saying that nobody left the band since it was formed and neither has there been any scandal in the group’s relatively long history.
“He actually specifically talked about the importance of giving each other physical and emotional space,” Benjamin said with reference to his conversation with Jonghyun in August this year at KCON 2017, in Los Angeles.
“Despite the circumstances of how he may have passed, which we still need to wait for the autopsy report, it sounds like he was very much thinking about mental health and how to best navigate that or survive,” said the Fuse TV editor.
As news of Jonghyun’s death spread, condolences and tributes started pouring in from “devastated” fans.
Heartbreaking news coming from South Korea today that Jonghyun has passed away. The 27-year-old was a member of K-pop act SHINee and a successful solo artist. He was a true talent and creative, and will be dearly missed. I’m still having trouble taking in the news. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/MdURLjsB8I
— Jeff Benjamin (@Jeff__Benjamin) December 18, 2017
RIP Jonghyun 😭 Was just watching a bunch of your videos last night. If any of you are struggling, please talk to someone. You are not alone. Believe me, the world is a better place with you in it #Jonghyun #MyMentalHealthIn5Words
— Q (@qpark) December 18, 2017
Devastated to hear of Jonghyun’s passing. Such a wonderful person and an incredibly talented artist.
We feel honoured and blessed to have known you my friend and will miss you. Rest well brother 🌹
— London Noise (@LDNNOISE) December 18, 2017
Take a break for yourself. #MyMentalHealthIn5Words
Rest in Peace Jonghyun. Stay strong SHINee, Shawol and his family. He will be forever missed. Take care of yourself. Stay healthy and remember it’s easier with someone by your side. 🙏😔 종현 고인의 명복 💜
~From the BTS A.R.M.Y.
— 진짜 잘했어 종현아🙏 (@_jungkook_wife) December 18, 2017
Even though I’m not part of the Shawols fandom it breaks my heart knowing that a ver kind person with a beautiful voice like #JONGHYUN past away.
Everyone right now has their heart ♥ with #shinee #jonghyun #StayStrongShawols #StayStrongShinee @SHINee pic.twitter.com/coTx7ZDsKn
— Nicole Winz🇦🇷 (@NicoleWinz) December 18, 2017
The South Korean singer-songwriter and radio host, together with Onew, Key, Minho, and Taemin, became part of the five-member boy-band SHINee when it was formed in 2008 by S.M. Entertainment with the vision of becoming trendsetters in music, fashion, and dance.
It wasn’t long after the group’s May 25th debut that year on Seoul Broadcasting System’s “Inkigayo,” that Jonghyun started contributing as the band’s songwriter, as well, debuting in that role with the lyrics of the group’s single “Juliette” from their mini album “Romeo.”
Jonghyun’s tryst with composing started in October 2013, when he composed the track, “A Gloomy Clock” which featured in Lee Ji-eun’s (better known as IU) third Korean album, “Modern Times”.
He followed it up with “Red Candle” two months later, both, writing and composing the song, which was released by the South-Korean singer and actress Son Dam Bi.
Jonghyun’s first studio album “She is,” featuring nine tracks covering a range of genres such as electro-punk, EDM and R&B – most of them written and composed by Jonghyun himself – was released in May 2014 by S.M. Entertainment.
Here’s a song called좋아 (She is) from Jonghyun’s 2016 solo album “She is”
And, here’s the full list of “She is” tracks.
- “좋아 (She Is)”
- “White T-Shirt”
- “우주가 있어 (Orbit)”
- “Dress Up”
- “Suit Up”
After leaving his position as the “Blue Night” radio host in March this year, Jonghyun released his second compilation album Story Op.2 the following month.
Between May and July, Jonghyun held a series of concerts at Seoul’s SMTOWN Coex Artium drawing. Titled “The Agit (The Letter),” the 20-concert program attracted some 14,000 fans.
Story Op.2 Track-List
- “Just Chill” (멍하니 있어)
- “Love is So Nice”
- “Blinking Game” (눈싸움)
- “Elevator” (엘리베이터)
- “Let Me Out” (놓아줘)
- “Fireplace” (벽난로)
- “Our Season” (따뜻한 겨울)
- “Where are you” (바퀴)