K-pop star Sulli was found dead Monday at her home in Seongnam, South Korea. Sulli, whose legal name was Choi Jin-ri, was a former member of the group f(x). She was 25.
Sulli's talent agency SM Entertainment released a statement on her passing: "Sulli has left our side. We cannot believe the situation now and we are just filled with grief. For her family who is grieving after the sudden news of her passing, we earnestly request that you refrain from writing speculative articles or spreading rumors. We express our deep condolences."
Police told CNN it appears Sulli took her own life. "So far, it seems she killed herself, but we will leave all possibilities open and investigate," a police official said.
Sulli's manager found her on the second floor of her house. The two apparently spoke on Sunday evening and when he couldn't reach her Monday, he went to her residence. Police said they found a note at the scene but didn't comment further on its content. Investigations are ongoing.
In the wake of the news about her death, fans took to Twitter to express their shock — with some mentioning her recent appearance on the show The Night of Hate Comments in which she spoke out against cyberbullying. “Sulli’s death shouldn’t be reported as a suicide but murder,” wrote one fan. “She was attacked constantly by ppl’s words she survived everyday without crumbling down but there’s only so much a person can take ... may angels lead her & take her to the stars where she can stay forever shining and happy.”
Sulli, who was attached to the upcoming Netflix special Persona, was a child actress before joining the popular girl group f(x) in 2009. She left the group in 2015 to focus on acting. Sulli returned to music in 2018 and released her most recent single "Goblin" in June. She was cyber-bullied during her years in the spotlight, with some reportedly likening her to the underage girl in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.
In a recent interview, the Korean pop star reportedly opened about her mental health battles, saying that she had been "lying to everyone by pretending to be happy."
"My life is actually empty, so I feel like I’m lying to everyone by pretending to be happy on the outside," she said on Reply Night. "I asked around a lot for advice. They told me, 'Everyone has a dark side in their lives but they live pretending that they don’t. Don’t think of it as weird.'"
Sulli explained she chose to "simply live a two-sided life."
Korean pop stars, known as idols, face intense pressure and scrutiny in the spotlight. Some reports have pointed out that there's a mental health crisis in the industry. The sad news comes nearly two years after K-pop star Jonghyun, whose real name was Kim Jong-hyun, ended his own life. In a note left behind, the SHINee singer said he was "consumed" by depression and that "the life of fame was not for me."
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