Kim Jonghyun, the lead singer of the South Korean pop group SHINee, was found dead on Monday evening. According to NPR, Jonghyun was found unconscious in a residence hotel in Seoul’s Gangnam district. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
While a specific cause of death has not been reported, it is suspected Jonghyun died in a suicide attempt. NPR writes, “The cause of death has yet to be established but is suspected to be suicide, due to the reported presence of a burning coal briquette at the scene, suggesting a carbon monoxide–induced death.”
Jonghyun’s body was discovered after his old sister filed a report saying he was acting “erratically.” At a police briefing in South Korea, authorities read aloud a text message Jonghyun sent to his older sister before his death. “I’ve had a hard time. Please let me go and say that I did a good job. This is my last word,” the message read.
On Monday morning, SM Entertainment, Kim’s management group, released an official statement regarding Jonghyun’s death. Koreaboo reports the press release as saying, “This is SM Entertainment. We are sorry to be the bearer of such tragic, heart-breaking news. On December 18th, SHINee’s Jonghyun left us very suddenly. He was discovered unconscious at a residence in Chungdam-Dong, Seoul and was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead. Our sadness cannot compare to the pain of his family, who had to say goodbye to a son and a brother, but we have spent a long time with him, and the SHINee members along with the SM Entertainment staff are all in deep mourning and shock. Jonghyun loved music more than anybody else and he was an artist who did everything to perform his absolute best on stage. It breaks our heart to have to bring this news to fans who loved Jonghyun so much. Please refrain from reporting on rumors and guesswork so the family of the deceased can honor him in peace.”
The statement added, “As per the wish of the family, the funeral will be held quietly with his relatives and company colleagues. Once again we show our deepest condolences to Jonghyun on his last journey.”
Jonghyun’s final Instagram post is dated November 20. It is a screenshot of the lyrics to the song “Beside You” by Dear Cloud. The picture was captioned, “네가 아파하지 않길 기도해”, which translates to “I pray you aren’t hurting.” Fans have flocked to the pop-star’s Instagram to share their condolences. His most recent Instagram pic has thousands of comments from fans, reading things like, “Please tell me it was just a dream….”, “no its not possible”, and “Rest in peace 😭🙏🙏❤”.
Jonghyun had not posted to his Twitter page since April.
Jonghyun was part of the boy group SHINee, which debuted on May 25, 2008. He was also a songwriter for the band, and the 2009 song “Juliette” was written by him. SHINee recorded six albums for the Korean market and five for Japanese fans, according to Variety. Their most recent concert was eight days ago.
While he was dedicated to his band, Jonghyun also pursued a solo career. He released his first EP as a solo artist, Base, in January 2015.