Early Monday evening Seoul time police were called to a service apartment in the city's Cheongdam-dong neighborhood and found Kim Jong-hyun, singer/songwriter and member of the group SHINee who was better known simply as Jonghyun, unconscious and unresponsive. He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival from carbon monoxide poisoning. Since a charcoal briquette was allegedly found burning on a stovetop pan when first responders arrived the working theory is that Jonghyun took his own life, particularly given that the discovery was prompted by an ominous text message he sent to his sister earlier.
Our very own Centurion, who we otherwise haven't heard from in a while, posted this Tweet which pretty much sums up a lot of people's feelings:
The funeral will be private but SM Entertainment, SHINee's label, has set up a separate venue at the Ansan University Medical Center's memorial hall for fans to gather and pay tribute. The outpouring of tributes from fans and fellow artists has been continuous throughout the day:
Within the first eight minutes of what was otherwise meant to be a lively mokbang live stream from one of their favorite restaurants in Tokyo Monday evening Simon and Martina were alerted to the news by their fans:
Perhaps the most poignant song among those Jonghyun has written was actually for another artist: female soloist Lee Hi. Her Instagram tribute referenced in the initial post consisted of the lyrics for her 2016 hit "Breathe" along with the following caption:
"When I listened to the song at the first time and recorded it I forgot hard things. I appreciated it so much because I took comfort from it in front of many people. It is a heartbroken day. The song probably is about words that you want to hear from others and I express my sincere condolence."
Episodes of variety shows set to air over the holiday season are typically recorded in advance, and JTBC's Night Goblin is no exception. Since their Christmas episode features Jonghyun the producers are unsure about what to do with it. A preview had been uploaded to YouTube but soon after Jonghyun's death it was taken down.
Kinda surprised the hard working people of Korea and Japan haven't laughed Simon and Martina out of their countries....I can't believe in Korea or Japan there's any respect for pink shirt millennials who don't know what a day of real work is like.
Jeff Benjamin, Senior Digital Editor for FUSE TV and K-pop writer for Billboard as well as an acquaintance of mine, spoke with CNN International the other day about Jonghyun and what K-pop stars endure to achieve success:
The artists of SM Entertainment gathered for a short concert series this past summer in Korea and Japan. Closing the shows was this number by all the artists present and by happenstance given recent events it opened with Jonghyun of SHINee. SM released the track a few days ago.
On the first night of K-pop's oldest awards show, the 32nd Golden Disc Awards, Lee Hi was overcome with emotion during her live performance of "Breathe". It was the first music awards show since the untimely passing of Jonghyun, who wrote the song.