Kim Jonghyun was 27 years old.
He was part of a successful Korean boy band named SHINee for more than nine years. He was also an accomplished solo artist. But success doesn’t mean happiness.
On December 18th, Jonghyun committed suicide. Kim was found unresponsive in a rented apartment with charcoal briquettes burning near him. He had inhaled carbon monoxide fumes, which lead to his death.
Kim was always known as a hardworking idol who produced breathtaking music and performed with bright smiles for his fans. Yet, despite the glittery approach he took to the world, Kim had depression.
Prior to his death, Kim had confided his feelings with Dear Cloud’s Nine9. He had left her with a letter and asked for her to upload it if he passed away. In the letter, Kim expressed how his depression was hurting him and how it had made him feel broken with phrases like “I am damaged from the inside. The depression that has been slowly eating away at me has completely swallowed me, and I couldn’t win over it.” Kim also believed that he was the source of all his agony, and said, “They told me to figure out why I was hurting. I know very well why. I’m hurting because of me. It’s all my fault and because I’m bad.”
His final message to his sister was “Please let me go. Tell me I did well. Final farewell.”
Fans around the world erupted their sorrow over social media, saying that the incident should be taken as a wake-up call. The hashtags #MyMentalHealthIn5Words and #RosesForJonghyun quickly became trending on Twitter. Various idols like Jay Park and Luhan have paid their condolences, and SM Entertainment has released a final statement and tribute regarding the incident.
Rest in peace, Jonghyun.