The K-Pop industry and its fans are entering an unofficial period of mourning after the death of K-pop band Astro’s member, Moonbin.
The 25-year-old singer was found dead at his residence in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, on Wednesday night (link to story). Fans have reacted with anguish and disbelief over his sudden death.
According to the reports, the boy band’s manager first discovered the body and alerted the police. South Korean media reports say that his manager told the police that he went to Moonbin’s house as he was unable to reach him.
The police have said the singer appears to have died in an apparent suicide, although it’s not confirmed and investigations are ongoing.
Astro’s agency, Fantiago, said on Thursday: "Astro's Moonbin has suddenly left our sides and became a star in the sky.”
Who was Moonbin?
Moon Bin (Korean, 문빈), known professionally as Moonbin, was a South Korean singer, actor, dancer, and model under the label of the entertainment agency Fantagio. He was a member of the South Korean boy band Astro and its first official sub-unit ‘Moonbin & Sanha’.
Formed by Fantagio in 2020, the group included two Astro members, Moon Bin and Yoon San-ha.
But, Moonbin had entered showbiz much before he became famous in the K-pop industry.
He began his entertainment career as a child actor and model in the 2000s. He made his acting debut in 2009, at the age of 11, starring in the popular Korean drama series Boys Over Flowers.
Moonbin made his K-pop debut with Astro in February 2016. The group originally had six performers, but one member left in February 2023.
Moonbin’s sister Moon Sua is also a K-pop singer in the popular girl band Billlie.
Mourning the singer's death
According to the South Korean entertainment news website allkpop.com: “Billlie member Moon Sua, the younger sister of Moonbin, will be listed as a chief mourner during the period of Moonbin's wake along with her other family members.”
As soon as Fantiago confirmed Moonbin’s death, Astro members Jinjin and Sanha arrived at the wake. Another member, MJ (Kim Myung-jun), who is currently enlisted in the military also arrived after applying for emergency leave from the military base he was posted in.
Cha Eun Woo (actor and Astro singer) who was in the United States for his schedules, flew into Seoul on the evening of April 20 to join the wake.
Former Astro member Rocky is said to have arrived for the wake as well, media reports added.
Moonbin’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief on social media from Arohas. Aroha is the official fandom name of the Astro's fans, which means love in Maori.
One fan, @noonbinfiles, wrote on Twitter: “I hope we all remember Moonbin as a person whose smile was emotionally healing. Let's remember his warmth and the feelings and emotions he made us feel.”
And @bestboycoups tweeted: “Moonbin, you're a beautiful star now.... you shined and will shine as the brightest the star.”
Pictures online showed fans laying flowers and notes at street memorials in South Korea and other parts of the world, including the US, Chile, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Some also strung up purple and silver balloons, as the two colours had featured prominently at the singer's last performance in Thailand.
Many K-pop bands and artists have announced that they will postpone or cancel upcoming events, media interviews, and schedules to honour the singer who passed away.
Artists who are currently not in their promotion period, but have events, such as the release of YouTube content planned, have also announced the postponement of their content.
Those scheduled to attend international events, dressed in black to pay tribute to the deceased star.