K-pop star Moonbin, a member of the boy band Astro boy, has died, his music label and South Korean police announced Thursday, leaving fans grief-stricken.
The 25-year-old singer was found dead at her home in southern Seoul late Wednesday, a spokesman for the National Police Agency told AFP, adding there was no evidence of foul play.
Moonbin’s label Fantagio Music also released a statement on Thursday confirming his death, but did not disclose the cause.
“On April 19, Astro member Moon Bin unexpectedly left our world and became a star in the sky,” he said on Twitter.
He asked people to “refrain from speculative and malicious reports” so that his family can pay respect and honor him in peace.
The label’s announcement prompted thousands of comments from grieving fans, with many expressing disbelief.
“Take it easy, Moonbin. I hope you treat the stars and the moon well. I hope you give me all the comfort and love,” wrote one on Twitter.
“Now I can’t focus on work. That really hurts,” wrote another.
Moon Bin – who performed as Moonbin – was a member of the group Astro and also performed with a sub-group called Moonbin & Sanha.
She entered Fantagio’s trainee program at a young age and was an actress and child model before debuting with Astro in February 2016.
Before their deaths, Moonbin & Sanha were scheduled to perform at the Dream Concert in May, one of South Korea’s biggest K-pop joint concerts.
The group was in the middle of their Diffusion Fan Con Tour across Asia, and launched an official fan community page on Weverse — the global fandom platform of K-pop megastars BTS’ agency HYBE — on Sunday.
“While death is never expected of an artist, Moonbin’s untimely death was all the more shocking given how active the young star had been, even in the week of his death,” Billboard K-pop columnist Jeff Benjamin told AFP.
“No one around him saw this coming, but what we can keep is his undeniable smile,” he added.
“I’ve seen his brilliance compared to the Cheshire cat in ‘Alice and Wonderland,’ and the wonderful music and performances he gave us.”
– Cut throat –
Beneath the glitz and glamour, the K-pop industry is also known for its cutthroat competition, lack of privacy, online harassment and relentless public pressure to maintain a healthy image at all times and at all costs.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing an unnamed police official, reported that authorities believed Moon’s death to be a case of apparent suicide.
Several other young K-pop stars have died from suspected suicides in recent years, including Goo Hara, who died in 2019. An ex-boyfriend abused her and, after they broke up, blackmailed her for their sex videos.
The alleged suicide comes a month after her close friend, k-pop star Sulli, took her own life after a long battle with online bullying and calls for tougher penalties for cybercrimes in South Korea.
Sulli’s death echoed that of fellow K-pop star Jonghyun, who took his own life in 2017 after battling depression.
“It’s always the people who smile the most who suffer the most,” wrote one of Moon’s fans.
“When the sky shines beautifully we’ll think of you and when the stars shine we’ll think of you.”