January 22, 2007 08:07
Actress and pop singer U;Nee was found hanged to death in her home in Seo-gu, Incheon, Sunday. U;Nee's grandmother Lee found the woman's body in her 22nd-floor apartment Sunday afternoon, dead of an apparent suicide.
Lee said she had come home from a church service to find the singer hanging from a door frame. The death came as a surprise to fans who were awaiting the singer's latest album "Honey", her third. U;Nee, whose real name was Hur Youn, also performed under the stage name Lee Hye-ryeon.
Police investigating the death said that people close to her testified that U;Nee seemed to have been suffering from depression. There is speculation that U;Nee was upset by online criticisms and attacks. Police told reporters that U;Nee had been able to hide her stress well, saying that even her own family didn't know she was depressed.
U;Nee left no suicide note or will, police said. Her wake is being held at Onnuri Hospital in Majeon-dong, Incheon.
U;Nee came to public attention under the name Lee Hye-ryeon with her debut in the KBS TV drama "Grown-ups Just Don't Understand" in 1996. She appeared in the movie "Seventeen" in 1998 and later in TV dramas "Theme Game" and "Tears of the Dragon".
Her debut album "Go" was released in 2003 and she gained even greater popularity with the 2005 release of her second album "Call Call Call." Her sexy dance moves and revealing fashions made her the favorite of teenagers across Asia.
U;Nee, born to an un-wed mother, suffered a difficult childhood, she said in a KBS talk show in 2005. "I lived with just my grandmother when I was a child. It was really hard to live without a father," she said. The experience, she said, led to a vow to help the needy.
Reports of U;Nee's death caused a stir with online fans Sunday, as visitors flocking to a web site to leave condolences caused the computer server to overload. Within an hour of her death being made known, nearly 3,000 messages were posted on her website.
Most posters expressed shock that the singer would kill herself before her next album could come out. Many expressed condolences such as, "May she rest in peace in Heaven." U;Nee's feelings were also allegedly on display at her Web site in a posting that pre-dated her death. "I feel everything is empty. I am again walking down a path to reach a destination that I don't know," the posting said.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com