MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – K-pop star and actress Sulli died on Monday, October 14, according to reports from Korean media.
The actress was 25 years old.
She was found dead by her manager in her home in Seongnam, according to the Korean Herald, quoting police reports. According to Soompi, Sulli’s manager went to her home after failing to contact the actress. Their last phone call, Soompi said, happened at around 6:30 pm (Korean time) on Sunday, October 13.
Hours after her death was first confirmed by police, SM Entertainment released a statement, apologizing “for conveying such sad and unfortunate news.”
“Sulli has left our side. We cannot believe the situation now and we are just filled with grief,” said the Seoul-based talent management company.
“For her family who is grieving after the sudden news of her passing, we earnestly request that you refrain from writing speculative articles or spreading rumors. We express our deep condolences,” it added.
Sulli debuted as a member of girl group f(x) in 2009. She took a hiatus in 2014, citing physical and mental exhaustion from rumors being spread about her. She eventually left the group in 2015 but remained under contract with SM Entertainment as an actress.
The exact cause of her death was still under investigation, according to police.
South Korea has one of the world’s highest rates of suicide which, according to recent government figures, is among the top causes of death for those under 40.
Sulli, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri, was known for her outspokenness and drive for women’s rights, for which she had suffered online bullying and harassment. Sulli was active on social media and recently hosted a TV series where celebrities discussed their experiences with online abuse.
Her death sent shockwaves through the K-pop fan community. “I always adored and respected you for your boldness. All I can say is rest in peace,” a fan commented on Sulli’s Instagram account.
“In heaven, you don’t have to act strong or pretend everything is okay,” another fan said. “I hope you will only think about yourself there.” – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
The Department of Health has a national crisis hotline to assist people with mental health concerns. The hotline can be reached at 0917-899-USAP (8727) and 0917-989-8727. The Natasha Goulbourn Foundation can also be reached at 804-4673 and 0917-558-4673.