Earlier today (October 14th), South Korean pop star Sulli was found dead at the age of 25, with all signs pointing to a tragic suicide.
Sulli’s manager discovered the body in the singer’s home outside Seoul; the K-pop star reportedly wasn’t answering her phone the night before for many hours.
Kim Seong-tae, who works for the Seongnam Sujeong Police, said that they found no signs of foul play at Sullli’s home, nor did they locate a suicide note. He went on to say that the “investigation is ongoing” and they are not making any “presumptions about the cause of death,” though this situation strongly looks like Sulli took her own life. Seong-tae also added that the police had already checked security camera footage and saw no indication of an intruder.
“So far, it seems she killed herself, but we’re leaving all possibilities open as we investigate,” Seong-tae continued.
Police further said that Sulli had recently been experiencing severe depression while battling massive online bullying and vitriolic criticism in South Korea. Taboos included appearing in public with her boyfriend and refusing to wear a bra, both sources of intense backlash among fans.
The death closely follows that of K-pop idol Jong-hyun of boy band Shinee, who committed suicide in 2017. The development highlights the intense media scrutiny, fan attention, and criticism that often accompanies K-pop stardom.
SM Entertainment, which managed Sulli, stated that Sulli’s death was “very hard to believe.” Both Sulli and Jonghyun were signed to SM.
Sulli, whose real name was Choi jin-ri, began singing professionally a decade ago as part of girl group f(x). In July of 2014, she took a hiatus from the band while indicating that she was suffering “stress-related pain,” which was caused by all the rumors circulating about her personal life. A year later, she left the band for good.
Since then, she focused on acting, appearing in many films and TV shows, such as a 2017 superhero film called Real. But she did not leave music completely. This past summer, she released her debut single, which was called “Goblin.”
Known for her feminism and her outspokenness in a country where both are rare for women, Sulli seemed to be bravely cutting against the societal grain. Tragically, the backlash against her and the pressures of stardom ultimately proved overwhelming.