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How well do we really know the people closest to us? For those who followed the every move of SHINee frontman Kim Jonghyun, set their Google News Alerts to his name, worshipped his every word, the answer would be a resounding ‘Not well at all’. K-pop fans around the world reeled from shock on December 18 when news broke that Jonghyun, 27, had killed himself. How did this happen? Why did it happen? What made this happen? There were so many online theories to why one of K-pop’s most popular stars had decided to end his life… mostly because everyone was searching for answers too.

Maybe the biggest hint to what was going through Jonghyun’s mind came when his good friend Nine9 from K-pop group Dear Cloud posted the letter he’d written to her before this death, where he detailed his long, drawn-out battle with depression.

He wrote that he was “broken from the inside”, and “swallowed” by his depression. Towards the end of the letter, Jonghyun confessed: “The life of fame was never meant for me. That’s all the reason why it hurts. Because I’m famous. Why did I choose this...it’s a wonder I lasted so long... Just tell me I’ve done well. That this is good enough.” And hours before he took his own life, he sent a heartbreaking text message to his sister: “It’s been really hard. Let me go Tell me I did well. This is my last goodbye.”


The last moments ever captured of Jonghyun were from a CCTV (above) in a convenience store next to the block of apartments where he took his own life. He bought a pack of cigarettes, a fizzy drink and snacks. After leaving the store, Jonghyun got into his car and drove back and forth very noisily. A security guard, who witnessed the scene the K-pop star had created, told reporters: “He was stepping on the accelerator so hard that the engine was making very loud noises.”

Fans now say that this was his last cry for help. That he was hoping that someone, anyone, would take notice of him, stop him, and hopefully ask him how he was feeling.

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