Sulli — whose legal name is Choi Jin-ri — was found dead by her manager, who went to her home after Sulli failed to answer several phone calls. A cause of death has yet to be revealed, and at the moment there are conflicting reports about her death.
Per the AP, a police spokesperson said there was no sign of foul play or an intrusion and that police did not find a suicide note. However, a police official reportedly told CNN that they did find a note at Sulli’s home, and while they have yet to analyze it, the official said, “So far, it seems she killed herself, but we will leave all possibilities open and investigate.”
Sulli’s management company, SM Entertainment, also shared a statement with AP in which they said her death was “very hard to believe and sorrowful.”
A representative for SM Entertainment did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
Sulli first broke out in the mid-2000s as an actress before joining the K-pop group f(x) in 2009. The group’s debut album, Pinocchio, arrived in 2011 and topped the Korean charts, as did their next two records, Pink Tape and Red Light (those also peaked at Numbers One and Two, respectively, on the Billboard U.S. World chart, reflecting K-pop’s growing popularity abroad).
But as f(x) was promoting Red Light, Sulli went on hiatus from the group as she grappled with exhaustion and issues stemming from the vicious attacks leveled against her online. Sulli officially left f(x) in 2015.
In the ensuing years, Sulli returned to acting, starring in films like Fashion King and Real, while she was recently attached to the Netflix show Persona 2 (a representative for Netflix did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment). Sulli did eventually return to music, first guesting on Dean’s 2018 track, “Dayfly,” then releasing her solo debut, “Goblin,” in June.
Sulli was an outspoken, and thus controversial, figure in South Korea. She garnered fierce criticism and praise for taking staunchly feminist stances, like when she spoke out against objectification earlier this year, or when she appeared in public without a bra, saying she simply felt more comfortable without one.
She was also one of the rare K-pop stars to talk openly about her romantic relationships, as well as her struggles with mental health issues and cyberbullying (she even hosted on a South Korean talk show about the latter subject titled, The Night of Hate Comments).