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South Korean Singer Goo Hara Dead at 28

Local police have deemed the former-KARA member’s official cause of death as a possible suicide

Riddhi Chakraborty Nov 25, 2019

Goo Hara was most well known as a member of veteran K-pop girl group KARA which debuted in 2008. Photo: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage/Getty Images

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South Korean pop singer and actor Goo Hara was found dead in her residence in Seoul on Sunday evening, November 24th. Local police have deemed the official cause of death as a possible suicide. She was 28 years old.

Goo was most well known as a member of veteran K-pop girl group KARA which debuted in 2008. The group were one of the key artists of the second generation groups of K-pop, spreading the Hallyu Wave in the 2010s with releases like “Step,” “Mamma Mia,” and their iconic Japanese single “Mister,” before disbanding in 2016.

In 2015, Goo made a successful debut as a solo artist with the EP Alohara (Can You Feel It?). Goo was also immensely popular in Japan for her work with KARA as well as her solo releases.

In addition to her career in music, Goo starred in several variety shows and Korean dramas, including the popular 2011 series City Hunter. In 2018 she was also the host of JTBC’s popular beauty show My Mad Beauty Diary.

Last year, Goo filed a lawsuit against a former boyfriend for assaulting her and blackmailing her by uploading a nude photograph of her without her consent. She was immediately subjected to a massive wave of cruel tabloid stories, malicious online comments and messages and was allegedly the reason for her Korean label terminating her contract. Although her ex-partner was sentenced to a year and six months in prison, the negative comments targeting Goo failed to cease.

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In May this year, Goo was found unconscious after an alleged suicide attempt and later issued an apology to her fans after receiving criticism for the same. Despite the onslaught of negativity, Goo continued to perform, release music and post positive words for her fans on social media.

The singer’s sudden death comes weeks after the passing of her close friend and fellow K-pop star Sulli, whose death was also ruled a suicide. Sulli was a controversial figure in South Korea, considered outspoken for her firm support of feminism and women’s rights. Goo expressed her sorrow around her friend’s death on an Instagram live, apologizing for not being in Korea to attend the funeral and promising to live well and work harder for her. In the month since, she had appeared to have recovered a little, posting on social media again and releasing a new Japanese single “Midnight Queen” which dropped in November. She also completed her Zepp Tour through Japan which spanned from November 13th to November 19th. Goo’s last Instagram post dated November 23rd is shows her tucked in bed with the caption, ‘Sleep well.’

Both artists’ deaths have spurred massive global discussions around the way women are vilified on social media for the choices they make, their appearance, artistry and relationships. Goo and Sulli were constantly cyber-bullied throughout their careers with every move and decision being criticized. It’s something most women in South Korea face, celebrity or otherwise, from illegal spy-cam epidemics to revenge porn and the highly infamous Burning Sun scandal. Fans of both singers have taken to social media to voice their protests around the ill-treatment stars face online for their personal lives and are demanding harsher punishments for those who commit sex crimes.

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