K-pop star Moonbin has died at the age of 25, his record label has announced.
He was found unresponsive by his manager at his apartment in Seoul on Wednesday night, South Korean media quoted police as saying.
“He appears to have taken his own life but an autopsy is being reviewed to determine the exact cause of death,” police said.
Moonbin “unexpectedly left our world and became a star in the sky”, a tribute from his label Fantiago said.
Moonbin had worked as an actor and model before joining the popular boy band Astro in 2016 at age 18.
Since 2020, he had been performing with another Astro member Sanha in a duo. Moonbin & Sanha had been in the middle of a world tour with their last performance in Bangkok on 8 April.
The label Fantiago said all of Astro’s members were returning to Seoul on Thursday to gather for Moonbin’s wake.
The statement from the label also asked people to “refrain from speculative and malicious reports” so that Moonbin’s family could pay their respects in peace.
Moobin’s sister Moon Sua is also a K-pop singer, part of the girl group Billlie. The siblings had previously spoken in public interviews about their dependence on each other.
Moonbin is the latest K-pop star to lose their life in recent years:
Singer and actress Goo Hara was found dead at her home in Seoul in 2019. Her close friend, K-pop star Sulli, killed herself after a long struggle with online bullying in the same year
In 2018, Minwoo of boy band 100% died at home, with his label only saying he had suffered cardiac arrest
Jonghyun, the lead singer of SHINee, one of South Korea’s biggest boy bands died in 2017.
South Korea has the highest rate of youth suicide of all developed countries and while the country’s overall suicide rate is falling, deaths of those in their 20s are rising.
The government is trying to substantially reduce the number of suicides, which plague Korea’s hyper-competitive society.
Moonbin joined the Fantagio’s trainee program as a child before eventually joining Astro. The group was originally six performers, but one member left in February 2023.
Astro fans – known as “Arohas”- have been mourning Moonbin’s death. Known as an all-round performer, he had been seen as the boy band’s most celebrated dancer.
Pictures on social media showed fans on Wednesday night laying flowers and post-it notes at impromptu street memorials in South Korea. Fans also strung up purple and silver balloons – colours that had featured prominently at the singer’s last performance in Thailand.
Moonbin had been on the “Diffusion” tour with Sanha, promoting the duo’s latest EP record which was released in January.
Moonbin had told fans after the concert that he had been going through a difficult time, Korean broadcaster SBS reported on Thursday.
“I want to confess one thing, I’m actually feeling really bad. There might have been a lot of signs from which people could notice since the concert started, so I’m also very sorry to you guys.
“I’m working out and trying to pick up things that I’ve left little by little. I chose this job so I need to be happy so that I can make fans happy as well,” he said in a live broadcast over social media.
The duo had been due to perform in Macau this Saturday, as well as in Indonesia and Japan in May.