Kim Jong-hyun (above, center), lead singer of the massive K-Pop band, SHINee, was found dead in his hotel in Seoul this morning, according to a report from Associated Press. Police have stated that the 27-year-old's death has not yet been ruled as a suicide, but authorities discovered burned coal briquettes in his hotel room which are known to produce fatal quantities of carbon monoxide. Additionally, his sister has stated she previously received text messages from her brother that included the phrases: "final farewell" and "I've had difficulties."
The South Korean singer and songwriter first gained fame as the vocalist for the boy group Shinee when the band debuted in 2008. Jonghyun would eventually make his debut as a solo artist in 2015, releasing his first EP titled Base. In 2016, he released his first studio album, She Is, which rose to the top of the South Korean charts, going on to spend three weeks in the Top 10, and five weeks in the Top 100 charts. Jonghyun also received praise for being a successful K-pop star both as a talented vocalist and an exceptional original songwriter. He consistently wrote and composed the music for his solo work, which garnered the respect of fans and critics.
Jonghyun's millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter shared messages of both compassion and devastation as they mourned the star's death.
South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.