Jonghyun: Fans mourn death of SHINee K-pop star

Updated 9:20 AM EST, Tue December 19, 2017
The portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun, a 27-year-old lead singer of the massively popular K-pop boyband SHINee, is seen on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.
The top K-pop star bemoaned feeling "broken from inside" and "engulfed" by depression in a suicide note, it emerged on December 19, as his death sent shockwaves across K-pop fans worldwide.  / AFP PHOTO / pool / CHOI Hyuk        (Photo credit should read CHOI HYUK/AFP/Getty Images)
CHOI HYUK/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun, a 27-year-old lead singer of the massively popular K-pop boyband SHINee, is seen on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017. The top K-pop star bemoaned feeling "broken from inside" and "engulfed" by depression in a suicide note, it emerged on December 19, as his death sent shockwaves across K-pop fans worldwide. / AFP PHOTO / pool / CHOI Hyuk (Photo credit should read CHOI HYUK/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:58
K-pop superstar Kim Jong-hyun dead at 27
Now playing
01:52
Chadwick Boseman's widow gives tearful speech at tribute
In this Feb. 14, 2018 photo, actor Chadwick Boseman poses for a portrait in New York to promote his film, "Black Panther."  Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer. His representative says Boseman died Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Los Angeles after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Victoria Will/AP
In this Feb. 14, 2018 photo, actor Chadwick Boseman poses for a portrait in New York to promote his film, "Black Panther." Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer. His representative says Boseman died Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Los Angeles after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Now playing
02:17
A look back at Chadwick Boseman's legacy
title: Chadwick Boseman's Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech  duration: 00:34:41  site: Youtube  author: null  published: Mon May 14 2018 10:29:12 GMT-0400 (EDT)  intervention: yes  description: Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman provides words of inspiration to the Class of 2018 during Howard University's 150th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12 in Washington, D.C.
Howard University/WHUT
title: Chadwick Boseman's Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech duration: 00:34:41 site: Youtube author: null published: Mon May 14 2018 10:29:12 GMT-0400 (EDT) intervention: yes description: Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman provides words of inspiration to the Class of 2018 during Howard University's 150th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12 in Washington, D.C.
Now playing
01:19
Chadwick Boseman gives 'Wakanda' salute at Howard graduation (2018)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 16:  James Shaw Jr. accepts award from Actor Chadwick Boseman onstage at the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/FilmMagic
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 16: James Shaw Jr. accepts award from Actor Chadwick Boseman onstage at the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Now playing
00:55
'Black Panther' star honors Waffle House hero
NBC/Broadway Video
Now playing
01:34
The Black Panther plays 'Jeopardy!' on 'SNL'
Now playing
01:50
Kids see themselves in 'Black Panther' heroes
English rock group the Baker Gurvitz Army in a studio, August 1974. Left to right: Paul Gurvitz, Ginger Baker and Adrian Gurvitz. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Michael Putland/Getty Images
English rock group the Baker Gurvitz Army in a studio, August 1974. Left to right: Paul Gurvitz, Ginger Baker and Adrian Gurvitz. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:35
Legendary drummer Ginger Baker dies aged 80
Courtesy Grants Pass Department of Public Safety
Now playing
00:44
Actor Charles Levin found dead
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Denise Nickerson who played Violet Beauregarde in the original film attends the 40th Anniversary of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at Jacques Torres Chocolates on October 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Denise Nickerson who played Violet Beauregarde in the original film attends the 40th Anniversary of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at Jacques Torres Chocolates on October 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:18
'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' actress has died
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by her brother, Tony Rodham, stop at Casa Bella Italian Restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Friday evening April 22, 2016. Hillary Clinton's father was born in Scranton, and she has family in the area. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post/Getty Images
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by her brother, Tony Rodham, stop at Casa Bella Italian Restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Friday evening April 22, 2016. Hillary Clinton's father was born in Scranton, and she has family in the area. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Now playing
00:30
Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham dead at 65
GULFPORT, MS - JUNE 22:  U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) looks on during a campaign rally at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on June 22, 2014 in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator, is locked in a tight runoff race with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) who failed to win the nomination in the primary election.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
GULFPORT, MS - JUNE 22: U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) looks on during a campaign rally at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on June 22, 2014 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator, is locked in a tight runoff race with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) who failed to win the nomination in the primary election. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:22
Longtime US Senator Thad Cochran dies at 81
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr just before his retirement in 1972.
Vernon Biever/AP
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr just before his retirement in 1972.
Now playing
01:00
Legendary quarterback Bart Starr passes away at 85
Niki Lauda celebrates after the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 16, 2017 in Northampton, England.
Dan Mullan/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Niki Lauda celebrates after the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 16, 2017 in Northampton, England.
Now playing
01:58
​​Niki Lauda: Three-time F1 champ dies aged 70​
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Actor Tim Conway arrives at the Paley Center for Media and TV Land salute of "The Bob Newhart Show" at the Paley Center for Media on September 5, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Michael Buckner/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05: Actor Tim Conway arrives at the Paley Center for Media and TV Land salute of "The Bob Newhart Show" at the Paley Center for Media on September 5, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Tim Conway of 'The Carol Burnett Show' dead at 85

Story highlights

Jonghyun's sister called police after he sent her disturbing text messages

They took him to hospital but he was declared dead on Monday, December 18

(CNN) —  

Fans of K-pop superstar Kim Jong-hyun are expressing their grief at the loss of the 27-year-old singer who died Monday after committing suicide at a studio apartment in the Gangnam district of Seoul.

Better known as Jonghyun, Kim’s death was confirmed by his management company, SM Entertainment, which said: “We are sorry to share such heartbreaking and tragic news… SHINee’s Jonghyun left us suddenly.”

Gangnam police said his death wasn’t being investigated as suspicious and Jonghyun’s family had not requested an autopsy.

Police said Jonghyun’s sister called them to the apartment about 6 p.m. Monday, reportedly after receiving troubling text messages from him.

“Please let me go. Tell me I did well,” and, “Final farewell,” the star said in the messages, according to South Korean media.

A portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.
CHOI HYUK/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.

Jonghyun was rushed to a nearby university hospital but was declared dead later that evening, SM Entertainment said in the statement.

The singer had a huge fan base as the lead singer of K-pop band SHINee. The group, formed by SM Entertainment, shot to fame after the release of their debut EP, Replay, in 2008.

Jonghyun was one of the most talented and well-rounded artists in K-pop, said Paul Han, co-founder of allkpop, a site for K-pop gossip and news, which has 10 million monthly readers worldwide.

“He had a wonderful voice and was so versatile and composed beautiful music. He was an even better person and he will be forever missed. The world of K-pop has lost one of its brightest stars,” he said.

Earlier this year, the group went on a world tour that took in the US and released their fifth album, titled Five. Jonghyun had performed as a solo artist as recently as this month.

“We’ve come to the US for fan meets before, but concerts make me a bit more nervous and excited. I hope our fans will be able to make great memories with us through the music and performances we show on stage,” Jonghyun told CNN in May after performing in Dallas, Los Angeles and Canada.

Fans in the US also paid tribute to the star as news of his death spread Tuesday.

“He deserves to be remembered for what a great person he was, and what an inspiration he was to so many people,” said US fan Kylie Grant, 20, who traveled to Dallas to watch SHINee in March.

“To Jonghyun I’d like to say, thank you for all the happiness you have given me and so many others. You worked hard, and you’ll be remembered forever.”

Tearful fans gather at a mourning altar for Jonghyun at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images
Tearful fans gather at a mourning altar for Jonghyun at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.

In Seoul, fans paid their respects at Asan Hospital Tuesday, ahead of a funeral which the family has requested to be held “as quietly as possible,” according to SM Entertainment.

“He was full of emotions and a sensitive person. He must have had lots of hardships but hid them and didn’t show them to others, that must have been the toughest part for him,” said Jung Min-kyung, who joined grieving fans in Seoul.

Two weeks before his death, Jonghyun sent a 47-line text to his friend, Jang Hee-yeon, a fellow musician from the band Dear Cloud, who goes by the name Nine9, with the request to post it to social media “if he disappears from the world.”

The message said: “I’m broken from inside. The blues that slowly ate at me has finally swallowed me whole. I couldn’t overcome.”

“I hated myself. Holding on to disappearing memories and screaming at it to wake up. There was no answer. If I can’t breathe, it’s better to stop.”

Nine9’s manager confirmed to CNN she’d received the text and had permission from his family to release it.

A post on SM Entertainment’s social media page reads: “Jonghyun is the best artist who loved music more than anyone else, enjoyed the stage, and loved to communicate with fans through his music. We will always remember you.”

K-pop machine

Korean pop music – or K-pop – is one of the most notable exports to come out of South Korea in the past decade.

Many of its stars – known as idols – train for years, honing their singing, dancing and acting skills, while also learning other Asian languages, before they are even allowed to debut their first song.

Mike Suh, head of strategy and global business at entertainment conglomerate CJ E&M, says idols go through a long training period “so that they immediately attract fans when they first appear.”

In this Oct. 4, 2016, file photo, Kim Jong-hyun, a member of South Korean K-pop group SHINee, poses for the media.
Lee Jin-man/AP
In this Oct. 4, 2016, file photo, Kim Jong-hyun, a member of South Korean K-pop group SHINee, poses for the media.

K-pop emerged in South Korea in the early 1990s, and labels such as JYP, DSP and YG built the nation’s pop industry from the ground up, creating a training scheme that churned out stars for music, soap operas and movies.

K-pop’s success has also been dependent on a highly-polished image. Stars typically can’t be seen dating, getting plastic surgery, or become embroiled in any kind of scandal, Tamar Herman, who covers K-pop for Billboard.com, told CNN earlier in 2017.

CNN’s Jane Sit, Jake Kwon and Sol Han contributed to this report