Entertainment And News, Heartbreak

The Tragic Death Of Former K-Pop Superstar Sulli Has People Questioning The High Price Of Fame

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How Did Sulli Die? New Details On Tragic Death Of Former K-Pop Superstar — And The High Cost O

How did former K-pop superstar Sulli die? That's the question the K-pop fandom is asking itself, and they're too heartbroken to come up with any real answers. Perhaps, then, there aren't any.  

K-pop, or Korean pop, stardom is a strange beast, indeed. It's nothing like American pop stardom; rather, it's characterized by a sudden, meteoric rise to the top, overly-obsessive fans, and a whirlwind tour of the globe, followed by an equally sudden and meteoric fall to the bottom. Many fallen K-pop stars, in the fandom's mind's eye, are lost to the dustbin of history, discarded like yesterday's trash along with their photos, posters, and other memorabilia. 

Sulli may have only been known to the K-pop fandom — not the mainstream pop fandom, like, say, BTS is — but her death raises a lot of questions about both the nature of K-pop stardom, and the nature of fandom and stardom as a whole. 

So let's explore this tragedy, in-depth. 

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1. She was only 25 years old. 

According to PeopleSulli — who spent most of her time in the spotlight decrying cyberbullying — was found dead in her apartment in Korea just a few days ago. She was only 25 years old when she passed away. The outlet reports that Sulli, whose real name is Choi Jin-Ri, got her start in the entertainment industry as a child actor, before switching over to become a pop star.

2. Sulli was best known for her work with the group f(x). 

"Sulli joined f(x) in 2009 and was very outspoken about supporting other women as well as her struggles with depression and anxiety. She took a break from the group back in 2014 after the cyberbullying became too much for her and left the group for good a year later to focus on developing her acting career," explained Cosmopolitan.

3. Was she suffering from depression?

According to MSN, when Sulli was found dead in her home, the reporting police suggested that she was suffering from "severe depression." The outlet also claims that a note of sorts was found near her body, but didn't make clear what type of note it was, though it can probably be inferred that it was a suicide note. The police also claim that it was Sulli's manager who found her dead in her apartment, and subsequently called the police. The Korean police have said that her death is "still under investigation." 


A post shared by 설리가진리 (Sulli) (@jelly_jilli) on Oct 12, 2019 at 4:05am PDT

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4. Sulli is not the first K-pop star to reportedly take her own life. 

Although, at this point, it's only inferred that Sulli took her own life, CNN reports that if indeed Sulli took her own life, she wouldn't be the first K-pop star to do so. The outlet goes on to explain that Jonghyun, who was considered a "megastar" in his prime, also took his own life in Seoul in December 2017. In addition, singer and actress Goo Hara — best known to K-pop fans as part of the all-girl group Kara — attempted to take her own life in May 2019, then took to social media to apologize to her fans for doing so. (Wait. WHAT?!)

5. This is indicative of a disturbing trend in Korean society in general — and K-pop in particular. 

This recent rash of suicides amongst K-pop stars has brought up some rather interesting, and distressing, facts and figures. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates amongst developed countries, and the highest when both developed and developing countries are taken into account. And there's more: Yahoo spoke extensively to K-pop experts, and they revealed that the increased pressure amongst K-pop stars to be "perfect" by South Korean standards show an increasingly high rate amongst their celebrities. 

6. The abusive comments against Sulli played a huge role in her suicide. 

According to CBS News, the persistent online abuse of Sulli played a huge role in her death. And though, again, it hasn't officially been ruled a suicide, this death prompts this writer to make the following statement. 

Trolls exist all over the Internet, and they have since time immemorial. Their existence isn't going to be fumigated by this latest death (more's the pity) — and in some cases, they're going to get worse because some people are so twisted that they thrive off of harming others.

To those people, I say the following: the tide is turning against you. As Cardi B's current legal battle with a blogger is proving, people are getting sick and tired of being subjected to a torrent of abuse every time they log on. And the abuse doesn't even make sense, 99 times out of 100: is it really worth your time, your energy, and your effort to spend hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, hurling abuse at people who are actually doing something with their lives? There's no way you could ever be even half as successful as the people you're spewing your venom at — because truly successful people don't have time to go on the Internet to hurl abuse at others. And there's certainly no way you, as a troll, could ever be a blessed and happy person — because blessed and happy people don't go on the Internet to spread hate, to gossip, to write howling screed after howling screed of nasty and abusive comments. 

There will come a day where you will be held accountable for your nastiness and your abuse. It will truly suck to be you on that day — but that day will be glorious for the rest of us, as we will get to watch, once and for all, you become accountable for your actions. 

Look at this face, below.

Look at what you have done. 

Memorize every crease, every strand, every curve of her face, and know that you played a role in taking it off the planet. 

May it haunt you for the rest of your life.

Our thoughts are with Sulli, and her family, during this distressing time. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.