Professional volleyball player Kim In-hyeok found dead after battling hate comments about his looks

Professional athlete Kim In-hyuk (Image via inhykeok0714/Instagram)
Professional athlete Kim In-hyuk (Image via inhykeok0714/Instagram)

Kim In-hyeok, the left striker of the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Bluefang’s male professional volleyball team, has passed away. This comes after the athlete battled various hateful comments about his looks. The young player was found dead in his home, and a police investigation surrounding his death is ongoing.

The 27-year-old, born in 1995, played volleyball for Gyeongnam University of Science and Technology before joining Korea Electric Power Corporation’s Big Storm during the 2017-2018 season’s junior draft. He was then transferred to the Samsung Fire & Marine Bluefangs team in 2020.

Kim In-hyeok: Professional career and unexpected death

On February 4, according to media outlets, the professional volleyball player, a left-wing spiker for the Daejong Samsung Fire Bluefangs, was found dead in his home.

With his outstanding talent, Kim In-hyeok was selected into the professional mens’ volleyball league in 2017 as a top 3 pick by the Suwon KEPCO Vixtorm after amassing attention as an ace during his college years.

The late sports star demonstrated exemplary athletic skills as a part of Suwon KEPCO Vixtorm until he sustained an injury on his left hand. In 2020, Kim was recruited by the Daejeon Samsung Fire Bluefangs.

Kim In-hyeok showed a promising future and made a strong impression by scoring 344 points in 32 games in the 2019-20 season. Unfortunately, he succumbed to another injury that put him out of all but two games during the 2021-22 season.

However, his professional career went downhill due to his injuries. In December 2021, he left the team and stayed at home to treat his injuries.

Meanwhile, Kim In-hyeok also dealt with spiteful comments made by netizens and volleyball fans throughout his career. In August 2021, the volleyball star took to his social media account to call out defamatory commentators and stated:

"All of these misunderstandings that I have ignored for the past ten years. I thought ignoring them would be the best, but now I am tired. None of you have ever seen me up close, and you know nothing about me, yet you constantly bully me with your malicious comments. Please stop. I'm so tired of them. No, I do not wear makeup, I have never worn makeup, I do not like men, I have a girlfriend, and no, I have never acted in any AV content in my life. Again, no, I did not put on mascara or any eye makeup. I put on toner and lotion, but if that's makeup, then sure, I put on makeup."

Before his unforeseen death, In-hyeok stated that he dealt with hateful comments throughout his career, particularly on game days. A day before his demise, Kim updated his Instagram feed with the following post:

While Kim In-hyeok dealt with the pressure of hateful comments in his professional career, the athlete showcased outstanding performances during his matches. Fans of the volleyball star stated that his looks shouldn’t have mattered to all those who called on him.

One netizen noted that while Kim left the team to recover, he was still dealing with spiteful comments. They further stated that the phenomenon of latching on to someone for one little thing and refusing to let go until they see it through has lately gotten a lot worse.

Here’s hoping the late athlete’s friends and family find the strength during such trying times to grieve and honor a life lost too soon.

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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