SEOUL (Reuters) – Grief-stricken fans braved Seoul’s winter cold on Thursday to bid farewell to Kim Jong-hyun, the lead singer of top South Korean boy band SHINee, who died in hospital in a suspected suicide.
Weeping, wailing and embracing one another, young men and women dressed in gray and black lined the road as the hearse carrying Kim’s coffin left the hospital.
“I am so sad that I cannot even cry. My heart aches so much”, 18-year-old Chinese fan Chen Jialin said.
Fellow singers, including SHINee’s Minho and members of bands Super Junior and Girls’ Generation, joined the funeral procession.
Kim, 27, was found unconscious next to burning briquettes on a frying pan inside a serviced residence in Seoul on Monday, police told Reuters.
Yonhap news agency had reported that the singer sent a final message to his sister asking her to “let me go”.
Kim spent nearly a decade as one of five members of SHINee, one of the most popular bands in the country, as well as a solo artist. His death was a massive blow to the worldwide fan base that Korea’s K-pop music has attracted in recent years.
K-pop is the rage in Asia and other continents, with a song by the group BTS maintaining a spot on the Billboard 200 for seven weeks as of the end of November.
Reporting by Minwoo Park and Jiwon Choi, Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Nick Macfie