Superstar SHINee’s Jonghyun was found dead in his apartment on Monday. Details on his death and SM’s statement right here. Also, we have to discuss the black hole in the room and that black hole is called mental illness.
Guys, I haven’t posted anything on here in an extremely long time, but I have to write about this. I just have to write about this sad sad news that will affect our K-pop community for a long time.
SHINee’s Jonghyun passed away on December 18th in his apartment from suicide. His older sister found his body unconscious in a residence Monday afternoon (KST). Police confirmed that Jonghyun died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you guys don’t know how carbon monoxide poisoning affects your body, please visit this site. Carbon monoxide is very dangerous and sometimes it can be undetected since we cannot see or smell it until it’s too late.
SM Entertainment’s released a short, concise, and impactful statement later that day and it reads:
“SHINee member Jonghyun has suddenly left our side. Jonghyun was the best artist, who loved music more than anyone else and always did his best for his performances. We are even more heartbroken to have to convey this sad news to the fans who have loved Jonghyun.”
I didn’t want to write about this when I first heard the news, but when mental illness is considered as something shameful or non-existent in the Korean society (especially in the K-pop industry) , we have to address it.
Mental illness is a very broad topic that can take many shapes and sizes. Mental illness is viewed as something negative, or shameful, in EVERY society. We can agree to disagree with that statement, but I believe so. Just this year, Chester from Linkin Park took his life, Lil Peep (an up and coming rapper) took his life, and the list goes on. It doesn’t matter if you have everything in the world, mental illness can affect you as it did Jonghyun.
Jonghyun was vocal about his illness. The fans knew he had Seasonal Affective Disorder since he revealed it on his radio show, but knowing about the disorder doesn’t mean that you know about the disorder. I have depression and my mom knows about it, but she doesn’t really know about it. A lot has to do with talking about it, but sometimes you just don’t want to talk about it. This is just my experience and me shutting everybody out is sort of my mechanism of “handling it”. Again, it’s different from people to people and I’m not saying this was how Jonghyun handled his disorder, but it’s something we have to think about. We also need to think about other K-pop idols who are suffering from mental illness in the dark. I don’t like using someone’s death as a “see-you-need-to-pay-attention-to-the-mental-health-of-your-artists” type of thing, but something needs to happen to bring more awareness to mental illness. We just have to. I just want to leave Jonghyun’s final words to his sister to end this paragraph.
“It has been really hard. Let me go. Tell me I did well. This is my last goodbye.”
Goodnight, Jonghyun. You can now rest without worry. You’re surrounded by angels because now you are one of them. Enchant them with your voice for all eternity and continue to look down upon us from skies you now call home.