South Korean celebrities

Hong Kong fans flood Twitter in outpouring of grief over death of SHINee lead singer Jonghyun

Supporters shocked and saddened by loss of K-pop idol, who committed suicide and was found dead on Monday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 9:40am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 5:07pm

Like being stabbed in the heart with a knife, was how one internet user described her pain, as Hong Kong fans flooded social media platforms this week to mourn the death of their idol Kim Jong-hyun, from top K-pop boy band SHINee.

The five-member group’s lead singer, better known by his stage name Jonghyun, committed suicide in a rented flat in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, and was found dead on Monday.

The death of the 27-year-old celebrity, known for his vocals and slick dance moves, shocked fans globally. Tweets about the band from users in Hong Kong became one of the top Twitter trends on Tuesday.

Fan @hk_shawol tweeted that the star’s death “deeply saddened me” and that “ we shawols were not there for him … I’m so so sorry Jonghyun”. Shawol, or SHINee World, is a term that the group’s fans use to refer to themselves.

Another fan @Maria777hk tweeted: “[Jonghyun’s death was] like a knife was stabbed through my heart”, while @Sara_HK92 said the star would be missed and called on other fans to “stay strong and let’s be united more than ever”.

Supporter @MinimeV tweeted: “I will never forget you. Thanks for being with SHINee for the past nine years, my boy.”

SHINee staged a concert at AsiaWorld-Expo on Lantau in May. They were also featured at the city’s first e-sports festival in August, among other artistes under top Korean entertainment group S.M. Entertainment.

A K-pop fan who had attended SHINee’s performance in Hong Kong told the Post: “It’s heart-wrenching to see such a talented and young singer-songwriter leaving us this way.”

“SHINee is one of the most popular South Korean boy bands, and they have a lot of fans from around the world, including Hong Kong. The news is shocking not only to their fans but to many K-pop lovers because most, if not all, would have listened to Jonghyun’s songs, and he is known for his powerful vocals,” the Hongkonger added.

Twitter user @0613dayy said: “[SHINee] has been with me for seven years. I was expecting to meet you five guys next year during your 10th anniversary. I didn’t go to your concert in Hong Kong this year. Didn’t expect this was his last appearance in Hong Kong.”

Steve Chung Lok-wai, Chinese University’s lecturer in global studies with a specialisation in Korean studies, said SHINee had a stable supporter base, with as many as tens of thousands of fans in the city.

But the band, which belonged to the third generation of such groups in South Korea and had been relatively long-lived, was also facing keen competition from other boy bands at home. Jonghyun had disclosed multiples times that he had been under great pressure from work.

The singer rarely made headlines for topics like relationship news, drink-driving or drug use, which had derailed the careers of many other artistes. He released his first solo album in 2015, topping the Billboard World Albums chart, and had performed at solo concerts in Seoul only last week.

SHINee singer Jonghyun’s final message before suicide: ‘the depression finally engulfed me entirely’

Some fans posted messages online commenting on depression, the mental illness Jonghyun was said to have suffered from.

Poster @ArtArmy9584hk said: “Depression is a serious illness. No matter how famous, talented and rich you are, when depression attacks, it can kill anybody.”

@Sara_HK92 said: “ Reach out to anyone showing signs of despair.”

On another social media platform, Instagram, user shinee_hk_shawol_0718 posted a message directed at the idol: “Thanks for showing up in my life. For the past many years, you did really well! I will remember you forever.”


● 24-hour hotline at Suicide Prevention Services: +852 2382 0000

● 24-hour hotline at Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong: +852 2389 2222

● Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care: +852 2868 1211