K-Pop Star Goo Hara Penned 'Pessimistic' Note Before Death, Police Say
Warning: This article discusses suicide.
Following the death of singer Goo Hara on Sunday, South Korean police have now revealed new information about her death.
Hara was found dead in her Seoul apartment over the weekend, with authorities now revealing the singer penned a handwritten note prior to her death.
"Yesterday around 6 pm, Goo Hara's housekeeper discovered her. Based on an on-site inspection and testimony from her family, there are no suspicions of a crime," Commissioner Lee Yong Pyo of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency confirmed in a statement.
"Based on the analysis of CCTV footage, we have confirmed that she returned home on November 24 at approximately 12:35 am [local time], so it is presumed that she passed away after that time."
Her last public message was an Instagram post on Saturday that simply said: "Good night."
"The housekeeper had maintained a close relationship with Goo Hara for a long time. She went to her home after she attempted to contact Goo Hara and received no response," he added.
He continued that "a handwritten note that was pessimistic about her life was found on a living room table" of Hara. No official cause of death has been confirmed at this time and remains under investigation.
"We will decide after consulting with the prosecution while considering her family's opinion and the results of the on-site inspection. Nothing has been decided as of now," he concluded.
Hara's shocking death at the age of 28 comes just six months after the singer was hospitalised after attempting to take her own life following relentless cyberbullying.
"I am sorry for causing concerns and a commotion," Hara told Sankei Sports, days after her suicide attempt. "In terms of health, I am recovering... I had been in agony over a number of overlapping issues."
The young star's death has sparked outrage among fans, with many noting that she had been embroiled in an ongoing battle against her ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong-bum, ever since Hara filed a lawsuit against him in 2018 after he allegedly threatened to release a sex tape featuring the pair.
According to Newsweek, the man was found guilty of physical assault, threatening behavior and the use of unnecessary force as well as property damages, but not sexual assault, following the lawsuit.
Who was Goo Hara?
Goo Hara made her debut in 2008 when she was 17 as a member of Kara, a K-pop group made up of five women. The group was among several that helped bring K-pop music to the rest of the world.
The girls quickly garnered a legion of fans, particularly in Japan, and began topping the charts in 2010. After Kara disbanded in 2016, Goo continued to perform as a solo artist in both South Korea and Japan.
The pressure of being a K-pop idol
Hara's death comes just over a month after her close friend and fellow K-pop idol, Sulli, took her own life at age 25. Following her friend's sudden death, Hara posted a tearful Instagram video message saying she would "live harder" for Sulli and "live the share of your life you didn't get to live".
Prior to the deaths of both women, K-pop star Jonghyun, whose real name was Kim Jong-hyun, also died by suicide in December 2017.
Each had also spoken about their experiences with online abuse from trolls -- or "netizens" -- a portmanteau of 'net' and 'citizen', often used in the K-pop community to describe those who nit-pick K-pop idols for small issues.
These deaths in the K-pop community highlight the growing issue of the severe pressure put on Korean pop idols, with the combination of demanding fans, gruelling schedules, cyberbullying, as well as the lack of mental health support in a country with the highest suicide rate among rich nations all being factors attributed to the tragic deaths.
Last year, Hara took her former boyfriend to court after he threatened to release sexually explicit footage of them that was filmed without her knowledge or consent.
Molka -- the act of secretly filming women and uploading the footage uploaded to websites -- has become a huge issue in South Korea. While many women in South Korea are subjected to such behaviour, Hara endured additional scrutiny due to her stardom and was subsequently 'slut-shamed' across social media.
One fan pointed out that this shaming wasn't limited to fans, either -- a previous interview on Radio Star showed the hosts making comments about Hara's dating life -- which she said she didn't feel comfortable talking about -- to the point where she began crying.
Earlier this year, Hara opened up about being cyberbullied, and the difficulty of living as a K-pop idol, which reportedly entails gruelling dance schedules, strict weight watching, competitiveness, and lack of privacy.
"We have to be careful about every move we make in our lives and are suffering from a pain that we can't share even with our friends and family," Hara said in a previous interview, adding that anyone can struggle with depression.
"You all have freedom of expression, but can you please look back on yourself before posting a hate comment?" she said.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.