Members of South Korean boy band WINNER have opened up about Nam Tae Hyun's departure. In November 2016, YG Entertainment announced that the group will continue as a four-member band.
During an interview with OSEN, the members revealed how they filled up Tae Hyun's absence. Kang Seung Yoon said: "Nam Tae Hyun couldn't be with us due to health issues. It's true that it was difficult. It wasn't just 'Oh well we can't do anything'. We were concerned about our fans. There were a lot of people who loved Nam Tae Hyun and Nam Tae Hyun did well as the main vocal so that led to concerns."
"But we couldn't spend days just worrying. I believed that we could no longer make fans wait. So we jumped into producing to make a comeback. We concentrated on self-development so the fans couldn't feel his emptiness. We had no choice but to grow," he added.
Shortly after Tae Hyun's departure news was announced, his images was deleted from the WINNER's official Facebook page, official site, and YouTube channel. Seung Yoon said: "Now we are 4 members so we just have to accept it. The 5 of us will forever be in the hearts of the fans. We don't want to erase the 5 member WINNER. I hope they give a lot of love to the 4 member WINNER too."
Kim Jin Woo shared: "With Nam Tae Hyun gone, the vocal parts increased. I worried a lot about how to consume that. I concentrated more on the vocals. I received lessons even on breaks and recorded multiple times. I kept on practicing and practicing."
Tae Hyun was asked to leave WINNER and YG Entertainment due to mental health issues. A statement from the label read: "After lengthy discussions with Nam Tae Hyun it was judged that it would be difficult for him to continue activities through WINNER. His exclusive contract got cancelled on November 18."
The note added: "The remaining members made his health and recovery the priority and hoped for improvement, but it's difficult to say when he will recover and return because it's a psychological issue he has dealt with since he was young. Although Nam Tae Hyun cannot be with WINNER now, we hope that they will be colleagues who support each other's future individual music activities. WINNER will not gain a new member and will remain as a 4-member group. We ask for a lot of support four members of WINNER who will make a new start and for Nam Tae Hyun."