The untimely death of one of K-Pop’s biggest stars, Moonbin, was announced yesterday. The 25-year-old boy band member, who rose to fame with his group Astro, is believed to have taken his own life.
Sadly, the Korean pop industry is no stranger to tragedies like this – with a mental health crisis among stars leading to a string of deaths.
While scores of K-Pop stars have been victims of their mental health struggles, many others have died young through accidents and other causes.
The life of singer Lee Ji Han was claimed in the devastation of the Halloween crush in Seoul last year.
And in 2014, two members of girl group Ladies’ Code died after their tour bus came off the road, while another star called Tany died in a car crash.
The untimely death of one of K-Pop’s biggest stars, Moonbin, was announced last yesterday
K-pop artist Amber Liu spoke out in 2020 about how artists are expected to be perfect in the cutthroat industry, following a string of high-profile stars taking their own lives
But as Moonbin’s death has been labelled a suspected suicide, conversation about South Korea‘s mental health ‘epidemic’ has come back into focus.
The country has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world and 95 per cent of South Koreans report being stressed.
The high pressures of South Korean society and taboo around discussing mental health issues is not lost on the country’s stars.
After several took their own lives in 2020, artist Amber Liu was among those to lift the lid on the dark underbelly of the industry, revealing the expectation to have perfect looks, performance and discipline.
‘You’re told what to do, what to say, what to think,’ she told CBS This Morning.
‘When (people) hear you’re getting help they’re like, ‘What? Why are you getting help? That’s weird’,’ she said.
‘That stigma against mental health is just so strong.’
Here, MailOnline takes a look inside the deadly world of K-Pop.
Moonbin – suspected suicide
Singer, actor, dancer and model Moonbin was best known as a member of boy band Astro and its sub-unit Moonbin and Sanha
Tragic news emerged this week of the death of Moonbin, aged 25, in a suspected suicide.
The singer, actor, dancer and model was best known as a member of boy band Astro and its sub-unit Moonbin and Sanha.
His manager found him dead at his home in Gangnam-gu, Seoul at 8.10 pm on Tuesday evening, YonHapNews Television reported.
He is believed to have been found after he did not turn up for rehearsals.
Born Moon Bin, he was part of the original lineup for Astro, debuting with five other singers in 2016.
A statement from his music label shared on Twitter early on Thursday read: ‘On April 19, Astro member Moon Bin unexpectedly left our world and became a star in the sky.’
‘Although it cannot be compared to the grief of the bereaved families who lost their beloved sons and brothers, the Astro members who have been with us for a long time, as well as our Fantagio fellow artists and executives, are deeply mourning the deceased in great sadness and shock.
‘It is even more heartbreaking to deliver the sudden news to the fans who have supported Moonbin and sent him generous love.
‘I am more heartbroken because I know the heart of the deceased who always loved and thought of his fans more than anyone else.’
They added that the funeral would be held quietly with his friends, family and colleagues attending.
Moonbin was also the older brother of K-pop girl group star Moon Sua, of Billie.
He joined the label’s trainee program at a young age and worked as an actor and model.
He made his debut with Astro, known for hits like Hide & Seek, in February 2016.
Lee Ji Han – Halloween crush in Seoul
Actor and singer Lee Ji Han, 24, had recently appeared on reality TV show Produce 101 to create a K-pop band when he died in Seoul last year
Actor and singer Lee Ji Han, 24, was one of the dozens of victims of a crush at Halloween celebrations in Seoul last October.
He had recently appeared on reality TV show Produce 101 to create a K-pop band.
He later appeared on the popular drama show Today was another Nam Hyan Day in 2019.
His agency, 935 Entertainment, paid tribute in a statement: ‘It’s true that Lee Ji Han passed away due to the accident in Itaewon on October 29.
‘We also hoped that it wasn’t true, and we were very shocked to hear the news. The family is suffering immense grief right now, so we are being very cautious. May he rest in peace.’
They later added: ‘Please send a warm farewell to [Lee], who left us too soon. We will also remember Lee, who shone beautifully with his passion for acting.’
Kim Jong-hyun – suicide
Kim Jong-hyun, aka Jonghyun, was a member of boy group SHINee. He died aged 27
Lead singer of South Korean boy band Shinee, Kim Jong-hyun, took his own life, it was reported in 2017.
It was suspected that he died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The star’s final message to his sister reportedly said: ‘It’s been too hard. Please send me off. Tell everyone I’ve had a hard time. This is my last goodbye.’
The 27-year-old singer, also known as Jonghyun, is said to have checked into a serviced residence for two nights and was discovered by police today after his sister raised the alarm.
He was found unconscious in an apartment in Cheongdam-dong, in the upscale Gangnam district of the capital Seoul.
Kim was part of the five-member K-Pop boyband Shinee that had become one of the country’s most popular in recent years.
They released their debut album, The Shinee World, in 2008.
who appeared on reality TV show Produce 101 to create a K-pop band. He later appeared on the popular drama show Today was another Nam Hyan Day in 2019.
His agents paid tribute to the youngster who ‘shone beautifully with his passion for acting’.
Sulli – suicide
A member of girl group f(x), K-pop star Sulli was found dead aged 25. It is believed that she took her own life
K-pop star and actor Sulli was found dead at her home in Seongnam aged 25 on 14 October 2019. It is believed that she took her own life.
A member of girl group f(x), launched by SM Entertainment in 2009, her band had achieved fame across the country and the world.
The star, born Choi Jin-ri, had received online abuse from trolls throughout her career, and announced in 2014 that she would be taking a break from her band due to ‘stress-related pain’.
She went on to focus on her acting career full-time in 2015, before launching a solo career with her first single coming out the year she died.
Sulli, 25, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri (pictured), was found dead by her manager at her home in Seongnam, south of the capital, Seoul
The trailblazing popstar caused a stir in South Korea’s traditionally conservative society for not wearing a bra and publicly displaying her romantic relationships.
She was a victim of homophobia after sharing a peck with her bandmate and best friend Goo Ha-Ra at her birthday party.
Just months before her death she took to Instagram Live to defend herself against what she called fans’ ‘gaze-rape’ – a phrase the Korea Times defined as meaning ‘excessive gazing that makes people feel violated’.
She was also an anomaly in the country’s music industry for speaking out about her struggles with panic disorders and being candid about the trolling she received online.
The online hate she received was decried by many following her death, with the fan culture surrounding her widely labelled toxic.
She was widely praised for being a positive force in exposing the abuse K-Pop stars could receive and rebelling against the strict boundaries imposed on them by the industry.
Goo Hara – suicide
Goo Hara’s death came just weeks after her close friend, fellow K-Pop star Sulli, passed away
Still reeling from the death of Sulli, K-Pop fans received the tragic news that her close friend Goo Hara had also been found dead just weeks later.
Hara, 28, was a former member of K-Pop group Kara, which debuted in 2007.
Her death, a suspected suicide, came after a previous suicide attempt six months earlier, when her manager found her unconscious at her home.
The star had been through a difficult time in the year before her death, having taken her ex-boyfriend to court after he threatened to release a sex tape of them that he had filmed without her knowledge.
This kind of vile blackmailing is called ‘molka’ in South Korea, and had seen a huge rise and another woman taking her own life around the time of Hara’s death.
Cha In-Ha – suspected suicide
Korean actor Cha In Ha died at the age of 27. The rising star was found dead in his home
Little over a week after after Hara’s death, the K-Pop world was rocked again following the death of actor Cha In-Ha.
A member of the acting troupe Suprise U, his death was a suspected suicide and drew comparisons with the earlier deaths of Sulli and Hara in both Korean and international media.
The star, whose birth name was Lee Jae Ho, had spoken positively of his fledgling career shortly before his death.
His agency Fantagio confirmed his passing, while urging people not to speculate on the cause of his death.
It released a statement saying it was ‘filled with grief at this news that is still hard to believe’.
EunB and RiSe – bus accident
Rise (pictured) and her Ladies’ Code bandmate EunB, tragically died after their tour bus crashed in Seoul in 2014
The group Ladies’ Code. EunB (second from left) died shortly after the crash, while her bandmate Rise (centre) died a few days later
Two singers in the pop group Ladies’ Code tragically died after their tour bus crashed in Seoul in 2014.
EunB, born Go Eun-bi, died shortly after the vehicle crashed into a railing during heavy rain south of the capital in Suwon.
Kwon Ri-sae, known as ‘Rise’, died a few days later from her injuries, after she failed to regain consciousness following emergency brain surgery.]
The funeral of EunB, who was just 21, was attended by hundreds of fans and two of her bandmates Ashley and Zumy, while Rise and fifth member Sojung were being treated in hospital.
The crash came just a year after the group were formed by Polaris Entertainment as a K-pop group in 2013 and shortly after they released their first full album, Kiss Kiss.
Tany – car crash
Tany, 22, became famous for his heartfelt tribute to the 300-plus victims of the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014
In 2018, K-Pop singer Tany tragically passed away aged just 22 following a car crash.
Tany, whose real name was Kim Jin-soo, died in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 14 April after his car was reported to have collided with a structure.
He had been driving on the Namhae Expressway in Jangheung County, in the south west of the country.
The star became famous for his heartfelt tribute to the 300-plus victims of the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014.
The song, released in December 2016 was called ‘Always Remember’, honouring the hundreds of people, including many schoolchildren, who had perished.
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