K-Pop singer and TV actor Lee Ji Han has been identified as one of 154 people who died in a stampede during Halloween festivities on Sunday in Itaewon, South Korea. He was 24. Agencies 935 Entertainment and 9AtoEntertainment, which represented the star, confirmed the news on October 30.
Lee Ji Han appeared on the reality TV show Produce 101 to create a K-Pop band. Later in 2019, he made an appearance on the well-known drama series Today Was Another Nam Hyan Day. At least 154 people are said to have been killed in the incident on Saturday night as they gathered on a narrow street for Halloween festivities.
It was rumored that the stampede began when a huge crowd of young people – mostly aged in their teens and 20s – poured into a narrow Seoul street to "see a local celebrity". Lee Ji Han was one among the 100,000-strong crowd who were celebrating when tragedy struck.
Lee Ji Han had got caught up in the stampede and died. In a statement translated by Soompi, Lee Ji Han's agency, 935 Entertainment, said: "It's true that Lee Ji Han passed away due to the accident in Itaewon on October 29.
"We also hoped that it wasn't true, and we were very shocked to hear the news. The family is suffering immense grief right now, so we are being very cautious. May he rest in peace."
They later followed up with another statement which said: "Please send a warm farewell to [Lee], who left us too soon. We will also remember Lee, who shone beautifully with his passion for acting."
In a message on social media, Ji Han's other agency, 9ato Entertainment, also confirmed the news. "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 statement read.
"Lee Ji-han brightly smiled when greeting us all the time. He had pure and positive energy with great passion for acting. It is very hard to believe that we cannot see him anymore. Please send your warm goodbye to Lee Ji-han. He'll always be remembered."
Tributes Pour In
Tributes started pouring in after news of Lee Ji-Han's broke out. Cast members posted condolences on Instagram Stories in response to the actor's passing. "Ji-han has left this world and gone to a comfortable place. We ask that you say goodbye to him on his final path."
Following the incident, a large number of South Korean celebrities have voiced their grief and condolences.
One of the celebrities who posted about the tragedy on Sunday was the K-pop musician G-Dragon from BIGBANG. "RIP and my condolences to the family. Wishing a speedy recovery to the injured." He also included the hashtag #prayforitaewon.
Rapper DinDin also posted about the tragedy, writing: "So heartbreaking, may they rest in peace." He uploaded a black and white picture with the words "Pray for Itaewon" on it.
On Monday, mourners visited the monuments for the 154 dead, where they could be seen crying, praying, and laying flowers on the official altar that had been erected in honor of the deceased, who were largely young women.
There was no mask mandate or group restrictions for revelers to have a good time during the gathering. Calls for accountability were growing on Monday in the press and online, as potential lapses of crowd control and policing emerged.
Actress Ko So-young posted a photo of a foggy sky with the caption #prayforitaewon and actress Kim Hye-soo shared a list of phone numbers for people to call to report missing friends and family members on Instagram Stories.
Numerous performances and television programs have been canceled and postponed in the wake of the stampede. The organizers of the 2022 Busan One Asia Festival K-pop concert said that tickets will be refunded after the event was postponed on October 30.