A TRAGIC LOSS
So young, so beautiful, a brilliant career ahead of her, but all she could see was loneliness.
South Korean pop star U;Nee committed suicide on January 21, 2007 at the age of 25.
“I feel everything is empty. I am walking down a path to reach a destination that I don’t know.”
She was born Lee Hye-ryeon (이혜련) to an unwed mother on May 3, 1981. Her father died when she was a child and she was raised by her grandmother.
“It was really hard to live without a father,” she said in an interview some years later.
She began her career as an actress in 1996 under her real name, appearing in TV dramas, including ‘Tears of the Dragon,’ and then in the movie ‘Seventeen.’
‘CALL CALL CALL’
Under the stage name of U;Nee (유니) — Yuni (‘ユニ’) in Japan — she gained wide popularity in 2003 with a debut rap album ‘Go.’
Stardom followed two years later with her second dance-pop album ‘Call Call Call.’ The lead single shot into the top ten on the Korean music charts.
Her record label, J’S Entertainment, focused on her sexy image, and even encouraged her to have her breasts enlarged.
U;Nee’s personality was naturally soft-spoken and reserved and she found the manufactured sexy image hard to handle.
She suffered from depression from an early age but kept it hidden from her family and fans.
They were in total shock when they heard she had killed herself.
She hanged herself from a door frame in her 22nd-floor apartment in Seo District (Seo-gu) in Incheon, South Korea. It was a Sunday afternoon. Her body was found by her grandmother.
OUTPOURING OF GRIEF
U;Nee’s fans flooded her website with so many messages of sadness and grief that the computer server overloaded and crashed.
There was no suicide note, but she had posted on her website this final message, “I feel everything is empty. I am again walking down a path to reach a destination that I don’t know.”
U;Nee’s management company released her third album ‘Habit’ on January 26, 2007, five days after her death. All the money from the sales went to U;Nee’s family.
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