Jonghyun: K-pop stars carry SHINee singer's coffin

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Media caption,

Fans mourn K-pop star Jonghyun

K-pop's biggest stars have led the procession for the funeral of singer Jonghyun who took his own life this week aged 27.

Jonghyun, whose real name was Kim Jong-hyun, was the lead singer of one of the biggest K-pop groups, SHINee.

His bandmates and others from the pop group Super Junior carried his coffin, dressed in all black.

His death has sparked waves of grief among fans with thousands visiting the hospital where his body was held.

A note believed to have been sent by him to a friend spoke of his struggles with depression and fame.

It said he was "broken from the inside" and that "the life of fame was never meant for me".

"What else can I say more. Just tell me I've done well. That this is enough. That I've worked hard. Even if you can't smile don't fault me on my way."

The procession on Thursday left the Asan Medican Centre in Seoul with one of Jonghyun's band mates and his sister at the front.

The pallbearers carried the coffin to the hearse which was then driven to the private funeral. Only family members and friends attended.

But hundreds gathered at the hospital for a final farewell.

Image source, Chung Sung-Jun
Image caption,
Jonghyun's sister carried a picture of him and walked ahead of the casket

Jonghyun was found unconscious in a Seoul apartment late on Monday. He was taken to hospital where he was declared dead.

Investigators said no post-mortem examination would be performed on his body and later ruled it a suicide.

Earlier this week, SHINee posted an emotional tribute on their official Twitter account, saying in Korean: "Jonghyun, who loved music more than anyone.... Forever, he will be remembered."

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Conceived in South Korea in the 1990s as a Western-Asian hybrid, K-pop is now a multi-million dollar industry.

It is at the forefront of the so-called Korean Wave - the spread of Korean music, drama and film across Asia and worldwide.

SHINee were founded in 2008 as a five member group under SM Entertainment, and quickly rose to become of the biggest K-pop boy groups.

Over the past years, SHINee recorded several albums in Japanese and in 2017 sold out the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome and part of their Japan tour. Earlier this year, they also played their first North American tour.

What is depression?

Depression is more than just feeling a bit down for a few days. It is an illness which, at its most severe, can leave people feeling that life is no longer worth living. It can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, sleeplessness and constant tiredness which may last for months and months.

People with depression can also feel anxious, irritable and agitated on a daily basis but it affects everyone differently and only in rare cases is it a reason for violence against others.

If people admit their symptoms and talk to someone about their feelings, depression can usually be treated but the biggest barrier to getting help is often stigma and the fear of disclosing mental health problems.