She had signed with a talent management agency in Japan earlier this year and released a song named Midnight Queen earlier this month.
Over the last year her career was overshadowed by events in her life off the stage. In September 2018 Goo filed a lawsuit against an ex-boyfriend after he threatened to damage her career by exposing an illicit video of her.
The episode reignited the debate over the intense pressure of K-pop stardom, which critics say is fueled by harsh online criticism leveled at the industry's performers.
A month after she was hospitalized, she posted on social media, threatening legal action against malicious comments, and revealed that she was suffering from depression.
Goo had also been embroiled in a public dispute with her former boyfriend Choi Jong-bum. She had accused Choi of blackmailing her by threatening to release a video of them having sex. Choi initially denied the claims, but was found guilty of blackmail and assault and given a suspended sentence earlier this year, according to an attorney for Goo.
A similar discussion about the pressures of stardom and depression broke out just last month after the 25-year-old singer Sulli was found dead at her home in Seoul in what police said was an apparent suicide. Sulli and Goo were close friends, local media reported.
Tributes pour in Fans gathered to mourn Goo at a makeshift memorial in front of the hospital where she was taken in Seoul's Gangnam district.
In an Instagram post remembering Goo, fellow singer Kahi, who led the girl group After School before going solo, said that stars needed more protection from the pressures of fame. "Another sun sets today," she said. "Don't forget that someone is always praying for you, RIP."
Popular Korean rapper Dindin said Goo had been "worried" about him during his rise, and told him to reach out if he was in trouble.
"But I haven't done anything for you and I haven't been a help ... I'm very sorry," he wrote on Instagram. "I'm so angry and hate this world. I wish you happiness where you are."
Goo Hara, a former member of the K-pop group Kara, has died at 28. The singer was reportedly found in her home in Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday evening, according to the New York Times. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but police are calling it a suicide.
Known simply as Hara to her fans, the singer was part of the South Korean group Kara since 2008, shortly after the group released its first album, The First Bloooooming. Goo ventured into a solo career in 2015, releasing her debut EP, Alohara (Can You Feel It?). She had just released a new single, “Midnight Queen,” this month.
Goo’s death comes six months after she was found unconscious back in May after a suspected suicide attempt, reports the South China Morning Post. She was allegedly struggling with an ex-boyfriend who was threatening to release sexually explicit content of her, reports EW.
In October Goo’s friend and fellow K-pop star Sulli was also found dead in her home; police suspected she had killed herself, highlighting the increasing pressures on women in the K-pop realm. Goo’s last Instagram post read simply, “Goodnight.”
The death of South Korean singer and actress Goo Hara, whose body was found at her home in Seoul this week, has again shone a spotlight on pressures that stars, especially females, face in the cutthroat K-pop industry and in deeply conservative South Korean society.
Goo’s death at age 28 came less than two months after the death of Choi Jin-ri, or Sulli, another K-pop star and Goo’s close friend. Experts say both Goo and Choi faced extensive cyberbullying and sexual harassment from the public and media throughout their careers, which took a toll on their mental health.
Police say they are still investigating Goo’s death and found a “pessimistic note” at her home. Once popular mostly in Asia, K-pop has spread far beyond South Korea, thanks to wildly popular groups such as BTS and Blackpink.
Goo debuted in 2008 as part of the five-member girl group Kara, which shot almost immediately to fame and helped pioneer the K-pop global phenomenon. She later launched a successful solo career in South Korea and Japan. Sulli began her career around the same time as Goo, debuting as a member of the girl band f(x) in 2009. She also had multiple acting roles after stepping away from her singing career.