It’s too safe to say that many of us are still in shock following the sudden news of Sulli (설리)’s passing.

The former f(x) member was found dead by her manager on the 2nd floor of her house in Seongnam, south of Seoul. Police stated that they were investigating the case as a possible suicide.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Suicide is not a new thing in South Korea. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the suicide rate in South Korea is currently at its highest level – reaching at number 10. The country also lead the Organization of Economic Cooperastion and Development (OECD) with the highest rate of people who commit suicide.

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In fact, suicide was the 4th leading cause of death among South Koreans. We’ve compiled a list of suicide cases among well-known celebrities that rocked the nation in the past. Keep in mind that the list are not arranged in chronological order.

1. Choi Jinsil (최진실) (24th December 1968 – 2nd October 2008)

Nicknamed “The Nation’s Actress” back during her heyday, Choi Jinsil was known for her string of TV soap operas as well as winning the Best Actress award at the 33rd Grand Bell Awards.

Her life soon began to change following the death of her former manager Ahn Jaehwan – a prominent figure in the entertainment industry – due to a murder case back in 1994. In this case, the late Jinsil was accused of being one of the main suspects for the crime.

As a result, she received several amount of backlash from everyone, which lead to her depression. She then decided to commit suicide by hanging herself on 2nd October 2008, in her home in Seoul.

2. Park Yongha (박용하) (12th August 1977 – 30th June 2010)

Park Yongha is no stranger among South Korean fans. At the young age of 17, he was admired for his skills in acting and singing, complete with his handsome looks. Aside from his antagonist role in famous TV drama “Winter Sonata” (2002) alongside A-listers Bae Youngjoon and Choi Jiwoo, he was also successful as a solo singer.

He was found dead by his mother at his home at Nonhyeongdong, Seoul; hanging from a camcorder charger after committing suicide. Prior to that, it’s reported that he had been struggling from the pressures of juggling between his entertainment company and his career, whilst also coping with his father having cancer.

3. Jang Jayeon (장자연) (25th January 1980 – 7th March 2009)

Jang Jayeon’s death remains the talk of the town even until the present day. She’s known for her appearance in the hit TV drama “Boys Over Flowers” (2009) as the character named Sunny.

She committed suicide by hanging herself at her house in Bundang, Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. The news became a hot topic following reports about her being abused both sexually and physically throughout her short stint in the industry.

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It was reported that in her 7-page unconfirmed suicide note, she revealed that she often got beaten by her agency and was forced to have sex with several VIPs – including directors, media executives and CEOs to name a few. Her scandal was adapted into a film called “Norigae” (2013).

4. Lee Eunjoo (이은주) (22nd December 1980 – 22nd February 2005)

Lee Eunjoo was the star for hit films including “Taegukgi: The Brotherhood Of War” (2004) and “The Scarlet Letter” (2000).

It’s believed that her life was at risk following her role in the latter movie. In the movie, she had to film nude scenes which in turn became a trauma for her. Throughout the years, Lee Eunjoo had suffered from depression, mental illness as well as insomnia.

On the night of 22nd February 2005, a few days after her graduation from Dankook University, Lee committed suicide by slitting her wrists and hanged herself at her apartment in Bundang, Seongnam. She was 24 at that time.

5. Daul Kim (김다울) (31st May 1989 – 19th November 2009)

Daul Kim was one of the biggest names in the fashion industry around that time. One of her major highlights was her cover page for Vogue magazine in 2007. Apart from that, this young and aspiring model had worked with other big names in fashion including Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel and Alexander McQueen to name a few.

However, beyond the glitz and glamour of the fashion world, Daul was actually lonely and depressed. She committed suicide by hanging herself at her apartment in Paris on 19th November 2009 at a young age of 20.

6. SHINee’s Jonghyun (종현) (8th April 1990 – 18th December 2017)

Jonghyun is no stranger among K-Pop fans worldwide. He debuted as the lead vocalist for award-winning boy band SHINee back in 2008.

It’s believed that everyone was aware about his struggle against depression throughout his time in the industry. However, he decided to end his life by committing suicide at a rented apartment in Chengdamdong in December 2017.

In his suicide note, the singer wrote, “The depression that was slowly devouring me at last consumed me.His tragic passing was mourned by fellow Shawols (SHINee fans) as well as K-fans around the world.

7. Jeon Taesoo (전태수) (2nd March 1984 – 21st January 2018)

Jeon Taesoo was the younger brother to “Secret Garden” actress Ha Ji Won. He was notable for his appearance in the period drama “Sungkyunhwan Scandal”.

He died at his home on 21st January 2018 in an apparent suicide. Reports stated that he was being treated for depression at the time of his death. He was 33 at that time.

According to “World Today”, lawmakers of South Korea are proposing an act called the “Sulli Act”. The bill was reportedly proposed by 9 members of of the National Assembly. The act wishes to tackle ongoing issue on cyber-bullying.

Soompi further reported that approximately 100 local organisations as well as 200 celebrities who have experienced receiving malicious comments are supporting the bill.

Sources: Mothership.SG, Hangat, Soompi.

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Syahrul Ramadan
Our intern, who is currently getting to know what it's like to work in the entertainment industry for the first time.