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Shinsadong Tiger, Prominent K-Pop Songwriter, Found Dead at 40

Shinsadong Tiger, a prominent songwriter in the Korean pop (K-Pop) music scene, has been found dead in Seoul. He was 40.

Tiger, whose real name was Lee Ho-yan, was found collapsed at his work place, according to music industry sources quoted by the semi-official Yonhap News Agency.

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“It is correct that Shinsadong Tiger was found dead, but we are unable to provide further details, including time and place of death,” an officer at Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul said.

The cause of Lee’s death is currently unknown. And the police said that there were no immediate indications of criminal involvement in the death.

Lee debuted as a songwriter in 2005 and he rapidly enjoyed success, composing numerous chart-topping tracks, including “Roly-Poly” performed by T-ara, Apink’s “NoNoNo,” EXID’s “Up&Down” and Momoland’s “Bboom Bboom.” In 2011, he branched into music production and founded AB Entertainment. The company hatched girl group EXID in 2012.

Yonhap reports that Lee had financial problems large enough that in 2017 he applied to a court to approve debt rehabilitation measures. The process was approved later and Lee returned to work. In 2021 he was credited as a chief producer of TR Entertainment, where he launched girl group Tri.be.

Local music sources in Korea said that Tri.be had immediately halted their public activities following Lee’s death.

Lee’s death marks the second of a popular South Korean celebrity in recent months. In December, Lee Sun-kyun, a leading actor, known for his role in the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite,” was found dead in a car in Seoul. His death followed weeks of an intense police investigation into his alleged drug use and massive media attention.

Last month, “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho and other leading film industry figures held a press event asking for the police and press to be held to account.

The Korean music scene is notoriously stressful. Music talent often sign long and onerous contracts at an early age and receive intense multi-disciplinary training, but without guarantee of career success. Once launched, social media scrutiny is often unforgiving.

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