K-pop star Moonbin, from boy band Astro, dies at 25

Steph Deschamps / April 20, 2023

South Korean K-pop star Moonbin, a member of the group Astro, died on Wednesday at the age of 25, according to his label Fantagio and the national police, prompting a wave of emotion among his fans.
 
The singer was found dead at his home in southern Seoul late Wednesday, a South Korean police spokesman told AFP, adding that there was no evidence of foul play. Moonbin's record label, Fantagio Music, issued a statement Thursday confirming his death, without mentioning a suspected cause: "On April 19, Astro Moonbin member left our world unexpectedly, becoming a star in the sky," the label wrote in Korean on its official Twitter account.
 
The statement asks everyone to "refrain" from "speculative and malicious" comments so that his family can pay tribute and honor him in peace. Behind the glamour and glitz, the K-pop industry is known for its ruthless competition, lack of respect for artists' privacy, online harassment and constant pressure to maintain a flawless image at all costs. South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing an unnamed police officer, reported that authorities believe Moonbin's death was clearly a suicide.
 
Moon Bin, known by his stage name Moonbin, was a member of the group Astro and also played in a subgroup called Moonbin & Sanha. After acting and modeling, he joined the Fantagio label's training program at a young age before debuting in February 2016 with Astro, which then had six members.
 
Several rising K-pop stars have died in recent years, including two alleged suicides in one month in 2019. Singer Goo Hara reportedly committed suicide after being the victim of "revenge porn" by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend, a month after her friend Sulli, another K-pop star, took her own life after attacks that included accusing her of not wearing a bra. In 2017, star Jonghyun also took her own life after struggling with depression.
 
South Korea has one of the highest suicide death rates in the world, which is among the leading causes of death for people under 40, according to recent figures from the South Korean government.
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