Choi Sung-bong, a famous singer from South Korea, was discovered dead at 33 from what appears to be a suicide. At 9:41 a.m. on Tuesday, police located him at his residence in the Yeoksam-dong neighborhood of Seoul.
Two years after he was caught lying about having numerous forms of cancer and requesting supporters to give funds for his treatment, word of Choi’s unexpected death has emerged. He expressed extreme remorse for lying.
Sung-bong shot to popularity in 2011 after his operatic rendition of Nella Fantasia by Ennio Morricone on Korea’s Got Talent became viral on YouTube, amassing over 21 million views in a few days. Stars like Justin Bieber, BoA, and Jung-Hwa Umwho also praised the clip. The media praised him as Korea’s version of Susan Boyle.
A statement he wrote on his YouTube channel the day before his death, in which he expressed regret for his “foolish mistakes,” has led police to conclude that he took his own life. He acknowledged the 2021 hoax’s contribution to his professional success and praised his followers for their support. He expressed regret for his careless actions and the harm they caused and said he had returned funds to people who had requested them over the past two years.
Choi has released many songs after appearing on the talent show, including 2016’s Slowcoach, 2021’s Tonight, and 2022’s I PRAY.
After achieving success, he penned a biography discussing his disadvantaged beginnings and his decision to forego musical training owing to financial concerns.
In his audition for Korea’s Got Talent, Choi said he was abandoned at age three and placed in an orphanage, where he stayed until he was beaten and ran out at age five. Since then, he claims to have been homeless and wandering from place to place alone. He said singing was the only thing that kept him going through this challenging period.
In other celebrity news out of South Korea, actress Park Soo Ryun, only 29, died last week after tumbling down the stairs on her way home. Park, who played the lead role in the Korean drama Snowdrop on Disney+, was rushed to the hospital for emergency care but was later declared brain dead despite doctors’ best efforts to revive her.
Multiple tragic events have shaken the K-pop and K-drama industries in recent years, adding to the country’s already heavy burden of tragedy.