GANGNAM DISTRICT, South Korea — The South Korean singer and actress Goo Hara was found dead on Sunday, Gangnam District Police in Seoul told CNN.
Police would not comment on a cause of death.
The 28-year-old singer, once part of the South Korean girl band Kara, was found unconscious in her Seoul home in May, after she had posted the word “Goodbye” on her Instagram account. The post, which was later deleted, prompted comments from concerned fans.
On that occasion, Goo was found and taken to the hospital. She later apologized to fans for “causing concern to everyone and causing a commotion,” a media outlet in Japan reported.
The episode reignited the debate over the intense pressure of K-pop stardom, which critics say is fueled by harsh online criticism leveled at the industry’s performers.
A month after she was hospitalized, she posted on social media, threatening legal action against malicious comments, and revealed that she was suffering from depression.
Goo had also been embroiled in a public dispute with her former boyfriend Choi Jong-bum. She had accused Choi of blackmailing her by threatening to release a video of them having sex. Choi initially denied the claims, but was found guilty of blackmail and assault and given a suspended sentence earlier this year, according to an attorney for Goo.
A similar discussion about the pressures of stardom and depression broke out just last month after the 25-year-old singer Sulli was found dead at her home in Seoul in what police said was an apparent suicide. Sulli and Goo were close friends, local media reported.
Another K-pop star, Kim Jong-hyun, died by suicide in 2017.
Tributes pour in
Fans gathered to mourn Goo at a makeshift memorial in front of the hospital where she was taken in Seoul’s Gangnam district.
In an Instagram post remembering Goo, fellow singer Kahi, who led the girl group After School before going solo, said that stars needed more protection from the pressures of fame.
“Another sun sets today,” she said. “Don’t forget that someone is always praying for you, RIP.”
Popular Korean rapper Dindin said Goo had been “worried” about him during his rise, and told him to reach out if he was in trouble.
“But I haven’t done anything for you and I haven’t been a help … I’m very sorry,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m so angry and hate this world. I wish you happiness where you are.”
How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.