Jung Chae-yul, Korean Actor, Dies at 26

South Korean actor Jung Chae-yul was found dead at her home on Tuesday. She was 26.

The news of her death was confirmed by her agency Management S, without disclosing details of the circumstances.

“Actress Chae-yul has left our side on April 11, 2023,” Management S, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We pray that Chae-yul, who has always been sincere about acting, is able to rest in peace in a warm place.” It added that, according to the wishes of her family, Jung will have a private funeral.

Jung began her career as a model and appeared in 2016 fashion survival show “Devil’s Runway.” She transited into acting and appeared in 2018 Korean movie “Deep.”

She is best-known for her role as a member of the police in 2020 fantasy comedy series “Zombie Detective,” which played in Korea on KBS and internationally on the Netflix streaming service.

At the time of her death, she was filming a leading role in “Wedding Impossible,” a Korean drama series adapted from a web novel about an actress who goes through with a fake marriage to a gay man.

The management firm’s statement wrapped by saying: “We earnestly request that you refrain from writing speculative articles or spreading rumors.” 

Given that Korean the entertainment scene has seen a succession of deaths by young performers, some of which have been later confirmed as death by suicide, speculation about the cause of Chae’s demise is inevitable.

The Korean music industry is known to put many youngsters through a long and intense apprenticeship system with no guarantees that they will ever have a career launch. And it is rare that performers feel able to publicly admit to mental health problems.

Social media and viral video plays a large role in making or breaking Korean performers, but it also hosts vicious commentary about looks, sexual orientation and sexual activity. Online, anonymous bullying is also widespread. National governments have said they will take steps to curb it.

Within the industry there have been cases of sexual harassment that may have destabilized young performers. In 2009, female actor Jang Ja-yeon left a suicide note accusing senior figures in the industry of sexual abuse.

Other high-profile deaths have included 28-year-old K-pop star Goo Hara in 2019 whose demise came only months after the death by suicide of her 25-year-old friend the singer-actor Sulli; 27-year-old actor Cha in-ha; K-pop icon Jonghyun, and 48-year-old actor Jeon Mi-seon.

If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

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