Jonghyun: Fans mourn death of SHINee K-pop star

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The singer, who performed under the name Jonghyun, was found unconscious in a rented Seoul apartment on Monday evening.

Kim Jong-hyun, a key member of one of South Korea's biggest boy bands, SHINee, has died.

Police told CNN that Jonghyun's sister called them to the apartment in Cheongdam, around 6 p.m. Monday, reportedly after receiving troubling text messages from him.

Jonghyun's death is being reported as an "apparent suicide". "Tell me I did well", and, "Final farewell", the star said in the messages, according to South Korean media.

Jonghyun's agency SM Entertainment has later released an official statement to confirm that the SHINee member has indeed passed away.

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Mike Suh, head of strategy and global business at entertainment conglomerate CJ E&M, says idols go through a long training period "so that they immediately attract fans when they first appear".

K-pop is the rage in Asia, especially in China and Japan, and the industry has made inroads in the West, with a song by the group BTS maintaining a spot on the Billboard 200 for a seven weeks as of the end of November.

As well as being a singer and an accomplished dancer, he played a large part in the group's songwriting and production, and launched a successful solo career in 2015. His last public appearance was at a solo concert titled "Inspired" on December 9-10 in Seoul, and he was scheduled to hold concerts with SHINee members in Tokyo and Osaka in February, Yonhap said.

SHINee have been dubbed the "Princes of K-pop" - a musical genre that started in South Korea and that mixes electronic, hip hop, pop, rock, and R&B music.

The lead singer of one of Korea's most popular boybands has died at age 27.