The news of SHINee's lead singer, Kim Jong-hyun's death, has spurred a whirl of comments on social media websites. Many fans have expressed their shock, disbelief, and sorrow for the loss of the lead singer of SHINee, an influential and popular South Korean boyband. A report by CNN presented most of the facts used in this article.

An apparent suicide

Kim was found at a rented studio apartment in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul on the evening of December 18. Cheongdam-dong is a trendy district in Gangnam, that often attracts numerous fans to shop along the streets to spot their favorite celebrities.

Kim's sister reported the incident to the police when she received a message from her brother that sounded like a suicide note.

The suicide note reads, "I have had a difficult time. Please allow me to leave and say that I have done a good job. This is my final words." His final post on Instagram also seemed to be a cry for help. It was the screen-captured song lyrics of a Dear Cloud song, "Beside You." The translated version reads, "I have had a thought while snuggling up in a dark room on my own. When you may regret withdrawing from everyone, letting them go. I hope the regrets and wounds will stop by now."

Kim was reported to have booked the apartment for two nights and was found unconscious by the police. Reports also stated that the police found a burning coal briquette, which is a prevalent method of suicide in South Korea. He was immediately rushed to the hospital but was reported to have died thereafter.

Kim's suicide raises question about the K-pop industry

Even though Kim debuted as part of SHINee, he was also a successful solo singer.

Given the fact that he has had his fair shares of success, what caused his depression?

In Korea, many of these talents were recruited ever since they were teenagers. These aspiring K-pop stars will then have to undergo gruesome training in singing, dancing, and acting for years before they finally make their debut. The Korean fans also have high expectations for these idols and often use the ubiquitous social media to pass critiques on them. K-pop stars have to follow strict no-dating rules and are often under a lot of pressure from both their media companies and the public.

Kim was not the only celebrity who chose suicide in South Korea. In 1996, 19-year-old Korean-American Charles Park struggled as he was unsure if the instant fame of his first album would continue. Jang Ja-yeon, a supporting female actress, took her own life when she was compelled to commit sexual favors for a "sponsor" in order for her to get her acting roles. These were but a few of the suicide cases among Korean artists.

As fans all over the world mourn the loss of a popular K-pop idol, the South Korean media industry will seriously have to question the way in which they function, and ensure that they provide healthy and happy environments for their artists.