n Sunday morning, Hong Kong pop star Ellen Loo was found dead after falling down from her 20th-floor apartment in Happy Valley in an apparent suicide.
The 32-year-old singer became a household name in Hong Kong after forming a two-member band named at17 with Eman Lam back in 2001 when she was just 15 years old. The group’s style of music was known as folktronica (that’s folk music mixed with electronica).
When the pair went their separate ways in 2010, Loo chose to embark on a solo career in Taiwan.
Loo was also an outspoken activist for LGBT rights and a supporter of same-sex marriage. Last year, she touched the hearts of many when she came out during her acceptance speech at the 28th Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan, thanking her wife, cinematographer Fisher Yu, whom she married in 2016 in Canada.
Unfortunately, Loo also battled for many years with mental illness. In 2013, the pressure of preparing for a concert caused her condition to worsen and she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorder. In a 2016 interview, she said, “If one day they don’t love me anymore, it’s over. What should I do?”
For nine months, Loo completely disappeared from the public, locking herself inside her apartment for days at a time, refusing to eat and unable to sleep. She later recovered with the help of therapy and medication, becoming an advocate for raising awareness about mental illness.
Loo’s death came as a shock to many in the music industry as she showed no signs of wanting to end her life in the days leading up her death. Just three days before she fell from her high-rise apartment, she posted a selfie onto Instagram, sharing that she had set a new goal for herself and telling her fans that a new song was set to be released next week and that she planned to meet with fans later this month.
Meanwhile, her close friend, comedian Vincci Chi, said on Facebook that Loo had made plans with her and other friends to go out drinking on August 6th, the day after she was found dead.
After hearing the news, the other half of at17, Eman Lam, took to Instagram to thank fans for offering their condolences and to express her sorrow. “People ask me, ‘Are you ok?” I can tell you that I will never be ok,” she wrote.
Police said that they are not treating Loo’s death as suspicious and are investigating it as a suicide. Although it has been revealed that Loo had recently not been taking her medications on time, it’s unclear if that contributed to her death.
– Do not leave the person alone
– Remove any sharp objects, alcohol, drugs or firearms that could be used in a suicide attempt
– Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
– Call the following hotlines for help: Lifeline Shanghai: 021-6279-8990 (English speakers; 10am – 10pm daily); HopeLine: 4001619995 (Chinese speakers; 24/7 toll-free access)