Sulli, of the band f(x), was found dead at her home on Monday, October 14, 2019, at her home in Seongnam, South Korea. Police officials say that it appears the 25-year-old Korean singer and actress died by suicide. The exact cause of death is still under investigation.
In a statement obtained by CBS News, officials said that the 25-year-old had been suffering from “severe depression.”
In one of her most recent interviews, Sulli opened up about the abuse she was subject to while performing with the group f(x). According to Mirror UK, Sulli said she felt “alone” and “exhausted” when she was working with the band. “I was under so much pressure. I often felt scared. We [f(x)] felt so much pressure. I did what someone told me to do without knowing the reason.”
Sulli had also spoken out against cyber-bullying and had recently been the target of hateful comments over a video she posted to Instagram, according to the BBC.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. There Are Conflicting Reports about Whether There Was a Suicide Note
Police say that it “seems she took her own life.” They add that they are “also looking into other possibilities.”
The singer, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri, was found by her manager at her house in Sujeong-gu, Seongnam, in Seoul, after she failed to respond to his phone calls. She is believed to have lived there alone.
According to CNN, police say there was a note, but they have not yet analyzed it. There are conflicting reports about there being a suicide note, however. TMZ states that there was no suicide note found.
2. Sulli Left f(x) in 2015 to Focus on Acting
Sulli was a part of the singing group f(x).
She began working with the group in 2009, and left them in 2015 to focus on her acting– Sulli was a child actor before transitioning to singing. In 2005, she debuted in the SBS television drama The Ballad of Seodong as Princess Sunhwa of Silla. As an actor, according to TMZ, Sulli was a “popular feminist voice in the deeply conservative country.” She often spoke out against cyberbullying.
In 2015, she also vowed to focus on her singing career, and released the single, “Goblin”, in June 2019.
Sulli was born on March 23, 1994, in Yangsan, Gyeongsamnam-do, South Korea. She is survived by her two older brothers and one younger brother. Sulli attended Performing Arts School in Seoul, along with other K-pop stars, like Suzy, Apink’s Naeun, Girls Day’s Hyeri, EXO’s Kai and Sehun.
3. Sulli Cohosted a Series Called ‘the Night of Hate Comments’
Earlier this year, Sulli became one of four cohosts of a show called “The Night of Hate Comments”, in which celebrities discuss the mean comments posted about them on the Internet. The program represented Sulli’s first long-term hosting gig, according to Chosun Ilbo.
In 2017, Sulli made headlines after being criticized for posting a video clip on her Instagram that showed a chopped eel being burnt alive. In the background of the video, a woman could be heard saying, “please help me, please help me.”
YTN reported on Sulli’s appearances on the show noting that she dealt with commenters who called her an “attention seeker” while another referred to her as a “druggie” due to her dilated pupils. Sulli said on the show that she had studied drug addict behavior in acting school. Sulli also said that she had once contemplated suing a commenter but relented when the person, a student at a prestigious college, wrote a thoughtful letter of apology.
The photo was later deleted, according to The Korea Herald.
Music journalist Taylor Glasby told Radio 1 Newsbeat that Sulli was her own person and a “free spirit.” BBC reports her as sharing, “She was one of the idols who decided to live her life in the way she wanted to and that didn’t always sit well with the general public.”
According to BBC, “Sulli was known for being controversial. She unashamedly told her fans that they had a choice about how to display their bodies.” The BBC report noted that in September 2019, Sulli had been involved in a minor scandal when she accidentally exposed her breast during an Instagram live broadcast. All K-Pop reported at the time that commenters seized upon the incident with many asking why Sulli never wore a bra. The website said that Sulli responded by saying, “I don’t get what’s wrong. This is my personal freedom.”
4. Fellow K-Pop Stars, as Well as Fans, Have Taken to Social Media to Mourn Her Loss
Sulli’s Instagram, which has over 6 million followers, has thousands of comments from fans who are mourning her loss.
Her most recent Instagram picture has over 16,000 comments from fans. On Monday, one fan wrote, “I have nothing to say ? i just hope ur soul rest in peace angel ..u deserve a better place ? …i’ll always love you.”
Another added, “rest in peace my beautiful angel thank you for bringing me happiness and lighting my days you will be missed dearly you were the light in this dark world thank you so much for everything love you endlessly rest well my love.”
K-Pop singer Sumni posted a photo of Sulli on Instagram with the caption, “So elegant.” While fellow singer Gyuri wrote in the caption of an Instagram post, “A beautiful and bright child. It’s hard to reveal my feelings in words. I hope the world becomes a place where we care about how we act kindly towards each other more.”
5. Sulli Opened Her Own Business in June 2018
In June 2018, Korea Boo reported that Sulli became the CEO of her own business, a pop-up store under SM Entertainment. SM Entertainment was the company that launched f(x).
The singer posted a business card to her Instagram that included Sulli’s real name, along with the name of the pop-up store.
In the article, Korea Boo discussed a recent live stream during which Sulli was “silent and teary”. They write, “Sulli’s silent and teary live stream gave her fans a fright and caused them to worry about her well-being. Hopefully, Sulli’s business announcement indicates that she is now moving in a more positive direction.”