Kim Jonghyun, lead vocalist for the enormously popular South Korean boy band SHINee, was found dead in a rented apartment earlier today, as SPIN points out. Jonghyun was 27. His sister alerted authorities after he sent texts that mentioned a “last goodbye,” and police are investigating his death as a suicide.
Jonghyun was chosen as a member of the R&B-influenced K-pop boy band SHINee in 2008. Early singles like “Juliette,” “Ring Ding Dong,” and “Lucifer” were massive hits around Asia. They made for slick, streamlined, state-of-the-art pop music, and curious Westerners who watched those videos saw a whole world of megabudget Eastern pop open up before them. Jonghyun was a powerful, agile singer, and he also wrote lyrics for his own group, as well as for K-pop acts like IU and EXO.
SHINee were the first K-pop group to record at Abbey Road. They headlined shows at places like Tokyo’s Tokyo Dome, Paris’ Zenith, and New York’s Madison Square Garden. They recorded in Japanese as well as Korean, and Five, their most recent Japanese album, came out earlier this year. Jonghyun also worked as a solo artist, releasing the 2015 mini-album Mine and the 2016 full-length She Is. Watch some of his videos, both with SHINee and solo, below.