The body of a former member of a group of girls f (x) was discovered by her manager at her house in Sudong-gu, Seonnam, south of the capital Seoul, on Monday afternoon, CNN reported. In a statement Tuesday, Sully's SM Entertainment agency said the star's family is planning a private funeral, adding that the relatives were "grief-stricken by this unexpected sad news."
But her opinions often make her a target of online trolls, especially by anti-feminists, said CedarBough Saeji, an expert on Korean culture and society at the University of British Columbia.
"She was brave," Saeji said Tuesday. "The fact that Sully repeatedly did things that misogynists don't like and refuses to apologize is how she really stood out."
Saeji said that in South Korea, K-pop stars were expected to apologize publicly when they failed to meet the high – and sometimes unrealistic – standards expected by the industry. But Sully refused to change, even appearing on a television show featuring K-pop stars discussing the challenges of negative online commentary.
"This society is going to criticize it so much, just for displaying an individuality in a way that doesn't exactly meet Korean social norms, it's just so incredibly sad," said Sayji.
"Sorry It is that no people to support it in the same way that she supported – in his own bizarre way – gender equality in Korea. She was also a voice and was a supporter of bigger problems in Korean society. "
Three petitions were filed by the Blue House on Tuesday, all requiring tougher cyberbullying rules.
The entertainment industry in South Korea has become one of the country's largest exports in the last decade. But K-pop stars – who often train for years before making their debut – are under intense pressure linked to a mental health crisis in the industry.
The singer posted the word "Goodbye" to her Instagram account, causing a flood of worried comments