Astro’s all-rounder Moonbin, real name Moon Bin, passed away on April 19. He was 25 years old.
An all-rounder meant that he was good at everything he did, including singing, dancing and acting. Officially, he was the group’s main dancer.
He had a bright infectious smile, shared encouraging words, cheering them up when they needed it the most. When he was in Manila with Sanha for “Diffusion” on March 25, writer Krixia Subingsubing praised him for his witand humor. He knew how to make people laugh.
News of his death came as a shock. The first clue that something was going on was when Indonesia’s event promoter Lumina Entertainment came out with a cancellation notice for “Diffusion” at 9 p.m. of April 19.
“Diffusion” is the fan concert of Astro’s sub-unit Moonbin and Sanha. Website Soompi broke the news of his death first a little after midnight of April 20.
Fantagio came out with a statement at 1:25 a.m. The agency’s statement was consoling, poetic.
“Astro member Moonbin suddenly left us and became a star in the sky.
“This shocking news is even more painful to announce to fans, who gave their unwavering support and love to Moonbin,” said the aforementioned statement.
The agency also asked everyone to avoid spreading rumors and making speculations. It asked for understanding and privacy for Moonbin’s family.
The funeral was held yesterday, April 22. The chief mourner was Moonbin’s sister and K-pop group Billie member, Moon Sua. As chief mourner, she was in charge of funeral duties, including receiving and accommodating guests. Billie canceled their activities for the week.
Astro members Jinjin and Sanha quickly arrived at the wake, while MJ applied and received emergency leave from his military base. Cha Eun-woo immediately returned from the United States to be with his comembers. Former Astro member Rocky was also at the wake.
The K-pop community showed solidarity with Astro and its fandom Arohas through memorials. New Frontier Theater in Quezon City opened their space to accommodate the grieving fans.
Other K-pop groups also postponed their activities. Itzy, iKON, BTOB, Stray Kids, ATEEZ, xikers, Xdinary Heroes, Enhypen, NewJeans, Le Sserafim and others moved their scheduled activities. IU also postponed her activities.
Some idols offered comfort to their fans in the app Bubble. The app’s contents are usually kept secret, but the beautiful words were this time shared on social media platforms.
SHINee’s Taemin paid tribute in his Instagram story. He wrote, “I remember how you shone on stage. You always shone so brightly. I hope for you to be happy at that place.”
SHINee’s Key also left a message on Moonbin’s Instagram saying, “I really want you to be very happy. Thank you for leaving many memories … Those who are left behind will be able to live with a smile and hope for the day when you walk around the street with a bright
smile. Good job. I am sorry for not knowing.”
TVXQ’s Yunho also paid tribute: “I will never forget how brightly you smiled and shone. I will be praying for your peace and happiness up there.”
BTS’ RM posted an Insta story with a black background, as well. Seventeen’s Seungkwan also followed his friend on Instagram.
Impact of Moonbin’s death
It’s very difficult to explain to a non-K-pop fan how devastating Moonbin’s death is to his fans and to other K-pop stans as well.
Idols are not just artists who sing and dance on television and on stage. They represent a safe place, a home wherein fans can be whoever they want to be. They are not just entertainers, they serve as escape from the pressures of real life. It may be a parasocial relationship, but it’s a relationship fans willingly get into because they get comfort from it.
It’s in the simplest things that idols do. Words of encouragement on a bad day are enough to make you happy. Hearing that you’re doing good or that it’s okay to cry can be comforting, especially if that’s what you need to hear at that moment.
Moonbin was an anchor for a lot of people. He made a lot of people feel cared for and loved. Moonbin saved lives.
Grieving is a process. Some fans might end up blaming themselves for what happened—for not seeing the signs, for not sending enough comforting words, for not being there with him when he needed comforting the most. But they must also remember that none of this is their fault.
There is a distinct line between fans and idols and this is it. We only know what the idols choose to show us. Cry as much as you want, mourn for him as long as you want. Take comfort from your fandom. Hold on to them more.
If you want to know how you can move forward from the pain without forgetting Moonbin, perhaps you can look at Shawols (SHINee’s fandom). Shawols still celebrate Jonghyun’s birthday annually. They meet with friends and remember how he was an ace in everything he did. The group never lost a member. SHINee is made up of five
members and always will be.
From hereon, your duty as a fan is to make sure that Moonbin’s legacy will not be reduced by his death. Keep reminding people about his artistry, how much he owned thestage when he was on it, and the kindness
he shared with everyone. Most of all, tell people about how much he loved and was loved.
*Cover photo was taken by Bunny Javier
Call Hopeline 2919 (toll-free for Globe/TM). To schedule free telepsychotherapy, text or viber UPD PsycServ at tel. 0906-374346or 0916-7573157. Call the National Center for Mental Health at 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 0917-989-USAP(8727). Reach the Philippine Mental Health Association’s Clinical and Intervention Services Department through tel: 0917-5652036. For KonsultaMD, call 79880 on mobile or 77988000 on landline (toll-free
for Globe/TM) for basic counseling.
Follow Super on Facebook and Inquirer Super on Instagram and Twitter.