Seoul, South Korea -- after Sulli, a k-pop singer, took her own life last month, Goo Hara, a fellow singer, was so upset that she said goodbye to her best friend on a live video. A tearful chowla said she wanted Shirley to be "free" to live in heaven.
When you're gone, I'm going to work harder, she said. "Dear fans, I will be fine. Don't worry about me."
But on Sunday, six weeks after Ms. Koh's death, she was found dead at her home in Seoul, in what police said was a suicide. The two are among the most popular stars in south Korean music, and their suicide has left fans reflecting on what went wrong with the country's most successful cultural export, k-pop.
The head of Seoul's police agency, Lee yong-pyo, told reporters that her body was found Sunday night by a maid. Investigators also found a handwritten memo in which Ms. Ju expressed despair, Mr. Lee said.
Grieving fans flocked to the hospital in Seoul where her body was laid, and her family planned a private funeral.
Male groups such as k-pop girl bands and BTS, once popular mainly in Asian countries, now have a global following. The music genre, with its mix of songs, video art, stylish clothes and synchronized dance that mixes sultry sexuality with innocent eyes, captured the imagination of fans around the world.
But beneath the glamour, k-pop is Mired in scandal and entertainment industry experts have long warned of its dark side.
Legions of young koreans spend years of training, often as teenagers, honing their singing skills and dance moves in hopes of impressing "star agencies" that they are good enough to release their first song. Even after they become k-pop ICONS, their star status rarely lasts long, as younger stars replace them with cuter looks and fancier dance moves. K-pop singers under 30 are considered very old, and these declining ICONS often try to make the transition to becoming actors, soloists or talk show regulars -- a difficult transition that usually doesn't work.
The k-pop phenomenon is spread primarily through YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other social media channels, where stars receive not only a flood of fan mail, but also hate-filled comments and cyberbullying, attacking everything from their appearance to their singing skills to their personal lives.
They grew up living in mechanical, and by the Spartan training, south Korean reporters Li Hejun (Lee Hark - joon-han, sound), said he had taken a film about creating K - pop woman combination of television documentary, and co-author of the K - pop idol: the rise of Popular Culture and Korean Music Industry "(K - pop Idols: Popular Culture and the Emergence of the Korean Music Industry). "They have few opportunities to develop normal school life or normal social relationships like their peers."
“他們從小過著機械的生活，受著斯巴達式的訓練，”韓國記者李赫俊（Lee Hark-joon，音）說，他曾拍攝過一部關于打造K-pop女子組合的電視紀錄片，并合著了《K-pop偶像：流行文化和韓國音樂產業的崛起》(K-pop Idols: Popular Culture and the Emergence of the Korean Music Industry)一書。“他們很少有機會像同齡人那樣發展正常的學校生活或正常的社會關系。”
Their fall could be as sudden and dramatic as their fame, Mr. Lee added, both at such a young age. "Their careers are particularly vulnerable to psychological stress -- they get instant attention on social media and fake news about their private lives spreads instantly."
In 2017, Shirley, a former member of south Korean girl group f(x), attended a memorial service for Kim jong-hyun, 27, another k-pop singer. Mr Kim killed himself after leaving a note saying he had been engulfed by depression.
Shirley, 25, took her own life last month after vehemently accusing Internet trolls of discriminating against women, especially after she joined a bra-free feminist movement.
Ms. Koo, 28, a former member of the popular k-pop girl group Kara, has also been plagued by cyberattacks. Internet trolls spread rumors that her beauty was mainly due to cosmetic surgery. She admitted she had surgery for drooping eyelids.
Things got worse after she broke up with her boyfriend, Choi jong-beom, a hair stylist. Rumor has it that someone had sex with the couple.
I will not tolerate these vicious comments anymore, Ms. Chohola wrote on her Instagram account in June, confessing to her "mental health" problems and "depression." (those posts were deleted after her death.)
At times, she sounded desperate, pleading with her critics not to be so mean.
Is there not a good soul to embrace the afflicted? 'she begged.
Entertainers and public figures like me have a hard time -- our private lives are scrutinized more than anyone else's, and we can't even talk to family and friends about the pain, she said. "Before you post malicious comments online, can you ask yourself what kind of person you are?"
Her relationship with her ex-boyfriend cui zhongfan was particularly troubled. She sued him last year, saying he threatened to broadcast their sex. In August, he was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for extortion, coercion and bodily harm. But the court suspended his sentence, allowing him to remain free.
Khora's suicide has prompted soul-searching in South Korea. Since the suicide report, the number of supporters of an online petition to President Moon jae-in's office to demand tougher penalties for sexual harassment has more than doubled to 217,000.
Her last Instagram post was a picture of her in bed. She wrote, "Jalja," which means "good night."