Korean actor-singer Lee Jihan was among the 153 people who died in a crowd crush on Sunday in Itaewon, South Korea. He was 24. Agencies 935 Entertainment and 9AtoEntertainment, which represented the star, confirmed the news on October 30.
In a statement, 935 Entertainment said,
“We are sad to deliver such news today, but Lee Jihan has passed away in the crush in Itaewon last night. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family, who are saddened by the sudden tragic news, also to everyone who loved him.”
The agency further added:
“A precious family actor Lee Ji-Han has become a star in the sky and has left us. Please take the last path of the actor Lee Ji-han, who left us too quickly. I hope you will see it warmly.”
Lee Jihan appeared in the 2019 drama Today Was Another Nam Hyun Day
Lee Jihan gained prominence in the Korean entertainment industry as a participant in season 2 of the Korean singing competition Produce 101. The show features 101 contestants who are looking for a chance to join an 11-member K-pop group.
At the time, Jihan was represented by Pan Entertainment as a K-pop trainee. He auditioned for the show with a cover of EXO’s Overdose and was also part of a group performance which sang Infinite’s Be Mine. Jihan was eliminated in the fifth episode.
Following the show, Jihan left Pan and worked with Widmay Entertainment. In 2019, Lee Jihan made his way into acting, making an appearance in the Korean drama series titled Today Was Another Nam Hyun Day.
Tributes pour in for Lee Jihan
Former Produce 101 contestants Park Heeseok and Kim Dohyun took to Instagram to pay tribute to their former castmate. They also shared Jihan's funeral information. Fans have also posted their condolences after the young actor’s death. Korean artists including Psy and Enhypen have also expressed their condolences.
What happened in Itaewon on Saturday?
Itaewon is popular for its Halloween festivities, attracting people from around the world every year. On Saturday, thousands gathered on the streets of Itaewon to celebrate Halloween. The overwhelming crowd led to panic and a fatal crowd surge, claiming the lives of at least 153 people. CNN cited authorities who noted that the casualties were mostly young, with victims in their teens and early 20s.
The report further noted that it took some time for people to realize something was wrong, as people's panicked screams were muffled by music blaring from surrounding clubs and bars. Adding to the chaos were thousands of people in Halloween costumes, making it difficult for police officers to get to the people who needed help.
The celebrations took place in the region after two years as all activities were halted due to COVID-19 restrictions. As per reports, over 80 people have been injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, the Korean government has announced a period of national mourning until November 5. Various K-pop music releases and events have also been canceled or rescheduled after the tragedy.