K-Pop star and actress Choi Jin-ri, known publicly by her stage name Sulli, was found dead in her home near Seoul, South Korea. She was 25 years old. Her cause of death has not been confirmed by officials, but investigators are looking into the possibility that she died by suicide.
Sulli was found Monday by her manager, who spoke to her last on Sunday night. A note has reportedly been found and is being looked into by investigators, according to CNN.
"So far, it seems she killed herself, but we will leave all possibilities open and investigate," a police official told CNN.
She began her career as a child actor before joining the K-Pop group f(x) in 2009. Sulli eventually left f(x) in 2014 citing mental and physical exhaustion after being the subject of rumours and malicious comments online, the Washington Post reports. After a year away from the spotlight, she returned to acting in 2015. Sulli was known for her candid and carefree presence online to her fans. She made her return to music as a solo artist in 2018 and releasing a single, “Goblin,” in 2019.
Last year, she spoke publicly about her struggles with panic disorder and social phobia. In an Instagram post teasing a reality show, Jinri Store, Sulli said, "Even close people left me. I was hurt by them and felt there was nobody who understands me, which made me fall apart." The post has since been taken down.
“She was one of the idols who decided to live her life in the way she wanted to and that didn’t always sit well with the general public,” music journalist Taylor Glasby told Radio 1 Newsbeat referring to the restrictive culture around K-Pop stars. “For idols, everything is about appearance, everything is quite monitored and she just didn't [monitor her content]. She was herself.” Sulli was known for being herself even if that went against the typical K-Pop star image people expected.
In South Korea, K-Pop stars are referred to as idols, and often train for years to perfecting their singing, dancing, acting, and public speaking before the public even hears their music. This has seemingly contributed to mental health issues in the K-Pop machine.
K-pop megastar Jonghyun, whose real name was Kim Jong-hyun, died by suicide Seoul in December 2017. At the time, police said Jonghyun's sister called them to his apartment, reportedly after receiving disturbing text messages from the 27-year-old superstar.
"Please let me go. Tell me I did well," and, "Final farewell," the star said in the heartbreaking messages, reported CNN.
And, South Korean singer and actress Goo Hara posted a disturbing “Goodbye” on her Instagram account in May, concerning fans. She eventually apologized to her fans after being found unconscious at her home, reports CNN.
According to Reuters, Sulli recently appeared on a TV show in which K-Pop stars opened up about the negative online comments they receive.
This is a breaking news story. New information will be added in updates as it becomes available.
If you are thinking about suicide, please contact Samaritans on 116 123. All calls are free and will be answered in confidence.