K-Pop star Sulli, formerly of girl group f(x) was found dead in her home on Monday. She was just 25 years old.
Born Choi Jin-ri, this South Korean singer and actress went by the stage name Sulli. As a member of f(x), Sulli found fame but also controversy.
She was unusually outspoken for a K-pop idol–an industry where stars’ images are carefully crafted and controlled.
She spoke out about being pro-choice, revealed her mental health struggles and details about her love life, and even encouraged women to skip wearing bras if they wanted to.
Managed by SM Entertainment–South Korea’s biggest pop star factory–Sulli was praised as one of the most beautiful stars in the industry.
She left f(x) in 2015 to pursue her acting career, and to take a break from the constant pressure of fame.
K-pop stars are typically discouraged from dating publicly, but Sulli defied that unspoken rule by dating a rapper named Choiza who was 14 years older than her.
Because of her outspoken attitude and feminist beliefs, Sulli was often the target of internet trolls and cyberbullies. The critical internet commentary, harsh rumors, and vicious insults that followed her seem to have taken a major toll on the young star.
She made her return to music as a solo artist with an EP called Goblin about mental health.
Tragically, it seems that Sulli might have been struggling even more than anyone realized. She was found dead in her apartment by her manager on Monday.
An official from the local law enforcement agency claims that there were no signs of foul play, but that police are not able to conclusively declare her death a suicide until they conclude their investigation.
Sm Entertainment tweeted the following statement (which has been translated): “Sulli has left our side. We are struck with grief to deliver such sad news to fans. Following the wishes of Sulli’s family, we have prepared a place where the fans who have always cheered Sulli on and set her their endless love and support can bid her farewell.”
Sulli’s former bandmate Amber Liu announced that she would be canceling all her upcoming events. Several other K-Pop groups, including SuperM and Super Junior, have also put their events on hold out of respect for Sulli.
Watch Sulli and f(x) in the video for one of their most popular songs below.