The former lead singer of the South Korean boy band SHINee has died aged 27 after taking his own life.
Kim Jong-hyun, known by the stage name Jonghyun, was found unconscious by police in a rented apartment in Cheongdam-dong in the South Korean capital Seoul after his sister raised concerns for his welfare.
Kim was rushed to Konkuk University Hospital in a state of cardiac arrest and received emergency CPR treatment. However, he failed to regain consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Local reports state that the singer sent a message to his sister saying the following: "It's been too hard. Please send me off. Tell everyone I've had a hard time. This is my last goodbye." He is believed to have killed himself by using carbon monoxide.
Kim had been the lead vocalist of the five-piece K-Pop boyband SHINee, one of South Korea's most popular music acts.
The band released 11 albums since their formation, releasing their debut album The Shinee World in 2008. Along with six Korean-language albums, the band released five Japanese-language albums starting in 2011.
SHINee now have an enormous fanbase in Japan. The Japanese-language version of their single Replay sold more than 100,000 copies, making the song the highest selling debut single by a South Korean group in Japan at the time.
The group's penchant for complex dance routines in their live performances won them a number of awards, including a Best Dance Performance Award from the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2010.
Although the bulk of SHINee's success is in Asia, they are also successful in the West - Odeon's website crashed a minute after tickets went on sale for their appearance at the Korean Film Festival in London in 2011, and they toured North America for the first time this year.
Kim's death has brought tributes from music industry representatives, both in the K Pop industry and further afield.
Kim was known for his unusual talent at writing and composing the majority of his own music - a rare quality in the mass-produced K Pop industry.
That talent let him to pursue a solo career in 2015 and he released his first studio album She Is last year.
Kim's last public appearance had been at a solo concert in Seoul earlier this month.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/jonghyun.948