The actress, singer and former K-pop band member Sulli, 25, was found dead in her home on Monday, the police said.
Sulli’s manager found her while checking her home in Seongnam after she failed to answer phone calls, said Kim Seong-tae, an official from the Seongnam Sujeong Police Department, according to The Associated Press.
“The investigation is ongoing and we won’t make presumptions about the cause of death,” he said, adding that there was no sign of foul play. Officials did not find a suicide note, he said, and security camera footage at the home did not show signs of intrusion.
Sulli was known for being relatively candid in an industry that often rewarded glossy conformity, said Jeff Benjamin, the K-pop columnist at Billboard. “She really was an outspoken star in an industry that probably would have rather had her stay quiet,” he said.
On Monday, some fans of the artist suggested that critical comments online had affected her mental health.
Sulli, whose legal name was Choi Jin-ri, did some acting as a child before she was recruited to join the girl group f(x) under SM Entertainment, one of South Korea’s major K-pop agencies. The band, which debuted in 2009, was quirkier than most other girl bands, which might have been a good fit for Sulli, Mr. Benjamin said.
She formally left the group in 2015 to focus on other things, including acting. She appeared in several films, and this year she became a host of a Korean television show whose title has been translated as “The Night of Hate Comments.” It featured celebrity guests poking fun at their experiences with online criticism and cyberbullying.
Sulli returned to music to release a solo album, “Goblin,” in June. The title song is about a person with dissociative disorder, which has also been called multiple personality disorder.
K-pop groups have grown in popularity over the past decade, transcending borders (despite language barriers) to spread in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, helped in large part by social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
In 2017, Sulli attended a memorial for another K-pop star, Kim Jong-hyun, 27, who killed himself after leaving a note that said he was overcome by depression.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. Here’s what you can do when a loved one is severely depressed.