K-Pop Star Dies in Apparent Suicide Using Coal

South Korea's Jonghyun appears to have killed himself by burning coal
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2017 7:51 AM CST
In this Oct. 4, 2016, file photo, Kim Jong-hyun, a member of South Korean K-pop group Shinee, poses for the media in Seoul, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

(Newser) – A K-pop superstar in South Korea whose bandmates said "loved music more than anyone" died Monday in what appears to be a suicide, the BBC reports. Police say Jonghyun (full name Kim Jong-hyun), said to be in his late 20s, was found unconscious in a Seoul residence hotel and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, per the AP. While police haven't confirmed the death of the lead singer of SHINee was a suicide, Yonhap reports that investigators discovered incinerated coal briquettes in a frying pan in Kim's room, suggesting he died from inhaling the carbon monoxide that's emitted when coal is burned. Police ended up there after his sister called 911, worried Kim might be killing himself based on texts he'd sent her, per AFP.

"This is my last farewell," one of the texts reportedly said. Another: "Please let me go. Tell me I did well." Per a separate Yonhap report, a close friend of Kim's posted on Instagram what she says was his suicide note; she says Kim's family was OK with her doing so. "I'm broken from the inside," Kim wrote. "The depression that has slowly nibbled me away has now devoured me, and I couldn't overcome it. … No one alive is more tormented nor weaker than myself." He also noted being famous likely wasn't for him, asking himself: "Why did I choose that?" The AP reports South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The Guardian adds his note underscores the pressures of being a young entertainer in South Korea. Police say Kim's family doesn't want an autopsy, and his management company notes the family wants his funeral to be held "as quietly as possible," per CNN.

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