The K-pop community is mourning today as one of its brightest superstars has passed. Kim Jonghyun, a K-pop singer-songwriter and member of boy band SHINee, passed away on Monday morning (Dec. 18) in Seoul's Gangnam district after being found unconscious in a residence hotel. He was 27.
Jonghyun made his debut on the K-pop scene nearly a decade ago when SHINee hit the scene in May 2008 with their debut single "Replay." The boy band went on to be one of Korea's biggest groups, constantly innovating with their sound and music styles with their most recent single "Tell Me What Do," released in late 2016, highlighting their penchant for striking, electro-R&B.
A group that had no member changes or issues for their nine-plus years together, Jonghyun told Fuse last year that giving one another room to breathe was key to their long-lasting teamwork. "We respect individual boundaries and personal space," he shared ahead of their headlining performance at KCON Los Angeles. "Not only emotionally, but as well as physically. Giving each other space helps us be more professional."
While Jonghyun had been writing lyrics for SHINee tracks—including their 2009 single "Juliette"—he made his debut as a soloist in early 2015 with his EP titled Base. While the EP hit No. 1 on Billboard's World Albums chart, he out did himself with his 2016 full-length album She Is that was named one of the Best Albums of 2016 by Fuse. It stood out for its "more confident" vocals and the growth he showed as an artist.
Jonghyun's Korean record label agency, SM Entertainment, confirmed Jonghyun's passing and are awaiting an autopsy to confirm the cause of death, though details from the scene indicate an apparent suicide.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can call a suicide hotline in your country.