On Dec. 18, Kim Jong-hyun, the main vocalist of the K-POP boy band SHINee committed suicide at his residence in Gangnam District. Kim Jong-hyun, better known by his stage name Jong-hyun, confirmed in his suicide note that he decided to end his life at the young age of 27 due to the hardships in his career that led him to face severe depression. Upon hearing about the sudden loss, K-POP fans and other idols were left in shock and utter devastation by the heartbreaking news as they expressed their grief publicly through social media.
“I really can’t describe the first feelings I had when Jonghyun passed away,” said Sophia Song (12), SHINee fan. “However, immediately after hearing about his death, I was speechless and couldn’t believe that the Jonghyun, the singer I loved so much since his debut, was actually gone. In fact, I still can’t believe that he isn’t here with us anymore, but I know for sure that everyone, including me, will always be thankful for the great music he has left behind.”
While news of Jong-hyun’s death brings immense sorrow to countless fans worldwide, it also reveals the pressures in stardom. Specifically, the tragic incident highlights the stress that young idols face in the competitive K-POP industry, as it was confirmed [by whom?] that Jong-hyun committed suicide due to the growing depressione faced as an acclaimed star with stress from factors such as a lack of privacy. A celebrity, to many people, may have always looked perfect from the outside; Jong-hyun’s story told otherwise.
“I think many people do not realize that celebrities actually face more hardships than we think since the glamour that these idols possess makes us think that they are flawless,” Eric Hwang (10) said. “In other words, unlike what is commonly thought among people, idols unfortunately undergo tremendous pressure everyday to satisfy their fans. Because we do not easily notice what sufferings lay under the charm of celebrities, it makes it more difficult to prevent hapless incidents like Jonghyun’s.”
To make it evident that Jonghyun’s death is not only a sorrowful event but also a reminder of the hardships many other celebrities face as well, several press sites pointed out the hardships behind the lives of many idols. Especially by presenting a note left behind by Jong-hyun where he expressed his deep regret of choosing a life of fame, online media sites like the Guardian and CNN exposed the unfortunate, yet truthful struggles of being an eminent star. The note written by Jong-hyun expressed his true, stressful feelings of being famous, as the note read that he was “broken from the inside,” and that “the depression that had been slowly eating [him] up finally devoured [him].” Mindful of the struggles faced by Jong-hyun, the press not only showed a heartbroken reaction but also reminded viewers of the pressures countless stars other than Jong-hyun still constantly face.
“When I read the press, I noticed that it acknowledged, and even emphasized, the sadness that came along with this unfortunate incident,” said Christine Lee (10). “However, I also realized that through Jonghyun’s death, the press also exposed the hardships that hundreds of other idols like Jonghyun have to face especially in the competitive K-POP business. This event was not only a sad one to many, but also a chance to expose the actual huge pressures idols have to face daily.”
The sudden death of Jong-hyun was shocking and tragic for the millions of K-POP fans who were avid listeners of his music. In fact, the sorrow expressed toward the loss of Jonghyun still remains especially because of his great talents and the huge impact he has put on the K-POP industry.