Moonbin, a member of K-pop boy band Astro, has reportedly been found dead at his home, becoming the latest in a long line of South Korean entertainers who died by apparent suicide.
Moonbin’s manager went to his apartment in the posh Gangnam district of Seoul on Wednesday evening, after being unable to contact the 25-year-old singer, and found his unresponsive body, according to reports by Yonhap News and other South Korean media outlets. Police, who found no evidence of foul play, said it appeared that he took his own life. An autopsy may be conducted to confirm his exact cause of death.
“Moonbin suddenly left us and became a star in the sky,” the singer’s management agency, Fantagio Group, said in an announcement. “It is incomparable to the sorrow of the bereaved families who left their beloved sons and brothers, but all Astro members, Fantagio colleagues and executives and employees are deeply mourning the deceased in such great sadness and shock.”
A funeral for Moonbin will be held “as quietly as possible,” with only family, friends and company colleagues attending, the agency said. “I sincerely ask you to refrain from speculative and malicious reports so that the bereaved families, who are deeply saddened by the sudden sad news, can reverently commemorate and greet the deceased.”
Moonbin was best known as a member of Astro, one of South Korea’s most popular music groups. He started his entertainment career as a child actor and model, debuting at age 11. He and another Astro member, Sanha, formed a subunit in September 2020 that has released three EPs – the latest in January. One of the tracks, called ‘Madness’, has surpassed 12 million views on YouTube.
The singer reportedly took a break from performing in parts of 2019 and 2020, citing his health. Such K-pop stars as Sulli, Goo Hara and Jonghyun have been found dead in recent years in confirmed or suspected cases of suicide. Sulli took her own life in October 2019, reportedly because of online bullying.
South Korea has the highest youth suicide rate among developed nations, ranking atop the 36-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Around 13,300 South Koreans – a rate of 26 for every 100,000 people – took their own lives in 2021, according to government data.
The Moonbin & Sanha duet has been on a world tour and performed most recently in Bangkok, on April 8. Moonbin reportedly told fans at a recent concert that he had been unwell. “I want to confess one thing: I’m actually feeling really bad,” he said. “There might have been a lot of signs from which people could notice since the concert started, so I’m also very sorry to you guys. I’m working out and trying to pick up things that I’ve left little by little. I chose this job, so I need to be happy so that I can make fans happy as well.”