K-pop star Sulli, who has died aged 25, had been subject to ‘malicious’ online comments

Sulli has died, aged 25.
Instagram/@jelly_jilli

A 25-year-old South Korean singer and actress has died at the age of 25.

Sulli, whose real name is Choi Jin-ri, was found dead in her home outside of Seoul by her agent on Monday (Oct 15) afternoon, Korea Times reported.

According to Korea Times, South Korean police said no suicide note was found, and an investigation into the cause of death is now underway.

“Choi apparently lived alone in the house, and it seems that she took her own life but we are also looking into other possibilities,” Korea Times quoted the police as saying.

Citing police, Reuters reported that she had been dealing with severe depression.

The former member of girl group f(x) had in the past been subject to “malicious comments and rumours online”, the news website said.

According to Korea Herald, Sulli had debuted in 2004 and joined the music industry in 2009, but put her career on hold in 2014 due to cyber-bullying. While she returned to the entertainment industry a year later, she left her musical group to focus on acting.

Known for speaking her mind, Sulli often chose not to conform to the strict and conservatve norms imposed on South Korean celebrities.

In June, the actress addressed her haters on a “Night of Hate Comments”, a variety programme where celebrities discuss comments made about them online.

According to entertainment site Soompi, when asked about criticism that she sometimes did not wear a bra in photos posted online, Sulli said: “I think this is about the freedom of the individual. Bras aren’t good for your health. They have a wire. They’re not good for your digestive organs, and I have issues with my digestion. Since it’s more comfortable not to, I don’t wear them. I think that it’s free and beautiful.”

Among the other comments discussed on the episode include people calling her an “attention seeker” and allegations that she uses illegal drugs.

“I don’t do anything illegal… I act freely within the limits of the law,” Soompi quoted her as saying.

Disbelief, outpouring of grief

After news of her death broke, several Korean entertainment events were cancelled as a mark of respect.

Sulli’s celebrity friends – including Ahn Jae Hyun, Goo Hye Sun, Goo Hara, U-Kiss’ Jun, Lee Sangmin, Park Jimin and Sunmi – posted tributes to the star on social media.

Online, fans have also penned condolences, with many sharing the music video for IU’s 2012 single “Peach”, which she had said was written with Sulli in mind.

In a statement, Sulli’s agency SM Entertainment said that the late star’s funeral will be kept private, and its location kept secret.

According to Allkpop, the label said: “We ask reporters to understand with a generous heart. We ask that you cooperate so that Sulli’s last journey will be beautiful.”

According to the World Health Organisation, South Korea has the 10th highest suicde rate in the world, and the highest among developed nations.