His death at his home in southern Seoul has prompted an outpouring of grief from fans.
K-pop star Moonbin has died at the age of 25, his record label has announced.
The singer, from South Korean boyband Astro was found by his manager who went to his home in Seoul on Wednesday evening because he wasn’t responding to contacts.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, citing an unnamed police official, reported that authorities believe Moon's death is a case of an apparent suicide and have so far found no signs of foul play.
Moon Bin’s management agency, Fantagio, said he “suddenly left us and became a star in the sky” and that fellow artists and company officials were mourning him with “very deep sadness and shock.”
Fantagio added that Moon Bin’s funeral will be held “as quietly as possible,” with the attendance mostly limited to family, close friends and colleagues, based on the wishes of his relatives.
The news has prompted an outpouring of grief from fans, with many expressing disbelief.
"Rest in peace, Moonbin. I hope the stars and the moon treat you well. I hope they give you all the comfort and love," one wrote on Twitter.
"I can't focus on work now. This really hurts," wrote another.
Moon Bin joined Fantagio's trainee programme at an early age and was an actor and child model before debuting with the six-member boyband Astro in February 2016, which was launched shortly after the singers appeared in a TV reality show.
The group quickly found success in South Korea and Japan and was listed on Billboard’s top 10 list of new K-pop groups that year. The magazine praised them for their “bright, synthpop sound that won over K-pop lovers from around the world.”
Moon Bin also performed as a member of the duo Moonbin & Sanha, with the other half being fellow Astro member Yoon San-ha.
Prior to his passing, Moonbin & Sanha had been set to perform at the upcoming Dream Concert, one of the largest K-pop joint concerts in South Korea, in May.
The group had also been in the middle of their Diffusion Fan Con Tour across Asia.
"While no passing from any artist is ever to be expected, Moonbin's untimely passing was all the more shocking given how active the young star was, even the week of his death," Jeff Benjamin, Billboard's K-pop columnist said.
"No one around him saw this coming, but what we can keep is his undeniable smile," he added. "I've seen its brightness compared to the Cheshire Cat from 'Alice and Wonderland', and the wonderful music and performances he gave us."
A cut-throat industry
Beneath the glitz and glamour, the K-pop industry is also known for its cut-throat competition, a lack of privacy, online bullying and relentless public pressure to maintain a wholesome image.
Several other young K-pop stars have died of suspected suicides in recent years, including Goo Hara who passed in 2019. She had been abused by an ex-boyfriend who, after they split, blackmailed her over their sex videos.
The suspected suicide occurred a month after her close friend, K-pop star Sulli, took her own life after a long struggle with online bullying, prompting demands in South Korea for stronger punishments for cybercrimes.
Sulli's death echoed that of fellow K-pop star Jonghyun, who took his life in 2017 after battling depression.
"It's always the people who smile the most who suffer the greatest," one of Moon's fans wrote.
"When the sky shines beautifully we'll think of you and when the stars shine bright we will think of you."