Korean pop star, Kim Jonghyun, asked his older sister to "let him go" shortly before his tragic death at the age of 27. The lead singer of the K-pop group SHINee passed on Monday, December 18, according to multiple South Korean reports.
Jonghyun was taken to the hospital in Seoul where he was later pronounced dead after being found unconscious in his apartment — reportedly after inhaling toxic fumes from coal burning on a frying pan. His sister had called police after receiving a series of text messages she believed constituted a suicide note. In one message, The Guardian reports Jonghyun wrote, "Please let me go. Tell me I did well. Final farewell." It was later revealed that his cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.
News of Jonghyun’s death prompted a flurry of messages on social media, with many fans voicing disbelief. One Twitter user wrote, "Today we lost one of the most talented artists in Korea. I’m heartbroken and devastated by the news." Another added, "Hope someday people will understand that depression is not a joke." A third simply chimed in, "My tears won't stop."
SHINee was formed in 2008 by SM Entertainment and had five members: Jonghyun, Onew, Key, Minho and Taemin. They released six chart-topping albums in Korea and five in Japan, in addition to embarking on numerous world tours. In 2015, Jonghyun launched a successful solo career and collaborated with several other Korean artists.
SM said in a statement: "Hello, this is SM Entertainment. We're sorry to deliver such heart-aching, unfortunate news. On December 18, SHINee member Jonghyun left our side unexpectedly. He was found unconscious at a residential hotel in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul and was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on the evening of the 18th." Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.