K-pop star and actor Goo Hara has reportedly been found dead at her apartment in Seoul. The 28-year-old’s death comes just two weeks after she launched her comeback tour following a suicide attempt six months ago.
Hara was discovered at her home in the affluent Cheongdam-dong at around 6 pm local time. Gangnam police are currently investigating the cause of her death, according to a Daily Mail report.
She had staged a comeback in Japan just days earlier, touring the country from November 14 to 19 to promote her new solo single. Formerly of girl band Kara, Hara had sparked concern among her fans after she wrote “Goodbye” on her Instagram earlier this year.
Hara’s manager, concerned by her Instagram post, reached her residence in Cheongdam in Seoul and found her unconscious in a room filled with smoke. He was luckily able to rush her to the hospital in time to save her.
The actor, who was reportedly battling depression, spoke about her decision, according to a report in allkpop and said, “I apologize to everyone for causing them to be worried. I will do my best to be healthy from now on.”
Hara has been in the headlines quite a bit since last September when details of a row with her ex-boyfriend Choi Jong-Bum came to public attention. She publicly accused Choi of blackmailing her with sex tapes the pair had made.
Hara had also been questioned by police after she allegedly assaulted Choi. Cases like this aren’t uncommon in the K-Pop industry.
Many stars face overwhelming pressure to look and behave perfectly in an industry where even a social media gaffe can be the end of a career.
“These ‘idols’ virtually live in a fishbowl and are pressed to put on a smiley, happy face while behaving nicely 24/7,” said cultural commentator Kim Seong-Soo, adding the strain could “cripple them emotionally”.
In addition to living in a highly-wired environment, K-pop stars also have to face the rigors of a society where the pressure to conform is high, according to him.
He added that taboos about mental illness are another factor that dissuades many from seeking medical help, including public figures.